Sunday, December 28, 2008

Soma Bay, Red Sea Coast, Egypt

Egypt is moving ahead strongly with Mega Project development and many of these projects focus on the resort / vacation sector of the market. Soma Bay is one of Egypt's most exclusive Mega Resort Projects. A completely self contained ten million square meter community located on the "Red Sea Riviera," Soma Bay is only a 4 hour flight from Central Europe and offers some of the most beautiful sandy beaches of the Red Sea as well as year round sunshine and a temperate climate.


>> Resort Hotels. Soma Bay has 3 of the finest resort hotels in the world:

**La Residence des Cascades. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, La Residence is positioned on the highest point of the peninsula of Soma Bay. The hotel contains 250 guest rooms and suites that overlook the Cascades Championship Golf Course. La Residence is also home to one of the largest and most exclusive thalasso therapy centers in the world, Les Thermes Marins des Cascades.

**Sheraton Soma Bay Resort. The 312 room resort features Egyptian themed architecture in the spirit of the ancient Pharaohs and has one of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the Red Sea. It also features 3 sweet water pools... two of which are heated, windsurfing and sailing instruction, 3 tennis courts, a squash court, a gymnasium and a croquet court. Sheraton Soma Bay regularly wins accolades for the quality and friendliness of its service. It has been recognized by TUI in 2002 as the best Resort in Egypt!

**Robinson Club. This 300 room resort hotel offers a continuous program of sports activities and entertainment, including after dinner shows in its open-air theater. Sports facilities include diving, windsurfing, and sailing centers, seven tennis courts, a gymnasium and aerobics center, and two sweet water heated pools.

**Two more hotels will be opening soon in Soma Bay, The Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge and Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay.

>> Cascades Golf and Country Club. One of Soma Bay's most attractive features, Cascades offers a Gary Player designed 18-hole, par 72 Championship Golf Course. Next to this course is a 9-hole, par 3 Challenge Course also designed by Gary Player. A Golf Academy and the Cascades Club House is located here as well.

>> Les Thermes Marins des Cascades. This Spa, as I noted earlier, is part of La Residence des Cascades and features thalasso therapy. This type of therapy is based on the curative properties of sea water and seaweed. The concept of thalasso therapy relies on the simultaneous use of all aspects of the marine environment with both a preventative and curative objective and according to Les Thermes:

'Treatments respond to the needs for relaxation, beauty, slimness, improved blood circulation and the relief of minor back and neck ailments. The effectiveness of the different treatments complement and reinforce one another, resulting in new vitality, improved form and more balanced health.'

>> Water Sports. Soma Bay, being located right on the Red Sea Coast, will have its own Marina and offer all kinds of water sports including:

- Scuba Diving
- Snorkeling
- Diving
- Kitesurfing
- Windsurfing

>> Resort Homes. For those who wish to purchase a residence, Soma Bay offers a variety of home choices:

- Bay Villas
- Reef Villas
- Golf Villas & Apartments
- Marina Apartments
- Soma Breeze Hotel Residences

All of these Soma Bay residences make a perfect second home getaway in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful resort destinations in the world.

Soma Bay is a total Mega Resort Project. It offers everything required for a relaxing first class holiday!

Here is a Soma Bay video from YouTube:


This link takes you to the Soma Bay website:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Every year ArabianBusiness.com comes out with their 'World's 50 Richest Arabs' list. These are the richest and most powerful Arabs! They are involved in every kind of business and commerce you can imagine. They are the movers and shakers of the business world!

What follows is the complete 2008 list of the world's richest Arabs. Please note that there are 49 names on the list, not 50. This is because ArabianBusiness.com lists number 30 on their list as "Entry removed due to calculation error" so I did not include that on this list.


1.) Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, US$ 17.08 Billion, Saudi Arabia
2.) Nasser Al Kharafi, US$ 9.6 Billion, Kuwait
3.) Maan Al Sanea, US$ 9.3 Billion, Saudi Arabia
4.) Sheikh Mohammed bin Issa Al Jabber, US$ 8.8 Billion, Saudi Arabia
5.) Mohammad Al Amoudi, US$ 8.8 Billion, Saudi Arabia
6.) Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, US$ 7.8 Billion, United Arab Emirates
7.) The Bin Laden Family, US$ 7.2 Billion, Saudi Arabia
8.) The Olayan Family, US$ 7.2 Billion, Saudi Arabia
9.) The Kanoo Family, US$ 6.1 Billion, Bahrain
10.) Said Khoury, US$ 6 Billion, Palestine
11.) Sulaiman Al Rajhi, US$ 5.4 Billion, Saudi Arabia
12.) Saleh Kamel, US$ 5.3 Billion, Saudi Arabia
13.) The Al Shaya Family, US$ 5.1 Billion, Kuwait
14.) The Gargash Family, US$ 5 Billion, United Arab Emirates
15.) Mahdi Al-Tajir, US$ 4.4 Billion, United Arab Emirates
16.) Hasib Sabbagh, US$ 4.3 Billion, Palestine
17.) Majid Al Futtaim, US$ 4.3 Billion, United Arab Emirates
18.) Abdullah Al Futtaim, US$ 4.3 Billion, United Arab Emirates
19.) The Algosaibi Family, US$ 3.6 Billion, Saudi Arabia
20.) Shwan Al-Mulla, US$ 3.4 Billion, Iraq
21.) The Al Zamil Family, US$ 3.4 Billion, Saudi Arabia
22.) Mohamed Abdul Latif Jameel, US$ 3.3 Billion, Saudi Arabia
23.) The Sawiris Family, US$ 3.2 Billion, Egypt
24.) Khalid bin Mahfouz, US$ 3.2 Billion, Saudi Arabia
25.) Saleh Al Rajhi, US$ 3.1 Billion, Saudi Arabia
26.) Suad Al Humaidi, US$ 3 Billion, Kuwait
27.) Sheikh Walid Al Ibrahim, US$ 2.9 Billion, Saudi Arabia
28.) Abdullah Al Rajhi, US$ 2.9 Billion, Saudi Arabia
29.) Nadhmi Auchi, US$ 2.8 Billion, Iraq
30.) Saad Hariri, US$ 2.6 Billion, Lebanon
31.) Issam Fares, US$ 2.4 Billion, Lebanon
32.) Bahaa Hariri, US$ 2.3 Billion, Lebanon
33.) Mohammed Shafik Gabr, US$ 2.2 Billion, Egypt
34.) The Al Rostamani Family, US$ 2.2 Billion, United Arab Emirates
35.) Ayman Hariri, US$ 2.1 Billion, Lebanon
36.) The Shoman Family, US$ 1.9 Billion, Palestine
37.) Omar Ayesh, US$ 1.8 Billion, United Arab Emirates
38.) The Boodai Family, US$ 1.7 Billion, Kuwait
39.) Tareq Sultan, US$ 1.7 Billion, Kuwait
40.) Al Tayer Family, US$ 1.7 Billion, United Arab Emirates
41.) Mohamed Al Bahar, US$ 1.7 Billion, Kuwait
42.) The Alghanim Family, US$ 1.6 Billion, Kuwait
43.) Munib Al Masri, US$ 1.6 Billion, Palestine
44.) Ziad Manasir, US$ 1.6 Billion, Jordan
45.) Ahmed Ezz, US$ 1.5 Billion, Egypt
46.) Najib Mikati, US$ 1.5 Billion, Lebanon
47.) Hesham Talaat Moustafa, US$ 1.5 Billion, Egypt
48.) Fayez Sarofim, US$ 1.4 Billion, Egypt
49.) Mohammed Al Rajhi, US$ 1.1 Billion, Saudi Arabia

This link takes you to the ArabianBusiness.com 'World's 50 Richest Arabs' article. Here you will see the list as well as other interesting information about the Arab Billionaires.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dubai Pearl

The Dubai Pearl is a huge mixed-use Mega Project being developed by a consortium of investors led by the Al Fahim Group and being built over an area of 1.7 million square feet, at a cost of $4Billion. Dubai Pearl is located in the Dubai Media and Technology Freezone and is only:

- 5 minutes from Dubai Marina,
- 10 minutes from Emirates Golf Club,
- 15 minutes from Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone,
- 20 minutes from Dubai International Airport,
- 50 minutes from Abu Dhabi.

Dubai Pearl has been designed to be a Pedestrian City which means the entire project is easily walkable, and what I really like about this development is that it will be climate controlled.....OUTSIDE. This "weather buffering" technology is being used more and more in Dubai Mega Projects including Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai International Financial Centre. It can actually cool outside areas just as air conditioning cools inside areas. You will see more and more of this all over The Gulf in order to eliminate the one big problem of this region....the heat.

Dubai Pearl, being a "city within a city," will offer everything you would expect from a multi billion dollar Dubai Mega Project including:

**Six, 5-Star Hotels including the Baccarat Hotel & Residences,
**Premium Residential and Commercial space,
**International Retail and Leisure Venues,
**Luxury Fashion Precinct,
**Boulevard of Luxury Boutiques,
**Gourmet Restaurants,
**2000 Seat Performing Theatre,
**Cinema Complex,
**Covered Parking for 16,500 vehicles,
**Landscaped Walkways,
**Sports Club,
**World Class Spa and Recreation Facilities,
**Jogging Track and Wellness Clinic.

The centerpiece of Dubai Pearl is the magnificent Dubai Pearl Tower. This is one of the most massive and impressive buildings I have ever seen. I predict it will become a Dubai monument right up there with Burj Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab. The gigantic Dubai Pearl Tower will be mixed use and contain the following:

Residential Areas:

> Sky Palaces with private gardens and pools,
> Sky Penthouses,
> Luxury Apartments,
> Branded Apartments,
> High speed elevators,
> Viewing Decks on every floor,
> Private Lobbies,
> Assigned underground parking.

These residences will be some of the finest in The Gulf and I have seen prices ranging from $1.25Million to $4Million depending on the size of the unit and its location within the Tower. However with real estate prices being slashed in Dubai look to pay far less!

Hospitality Areas:

> 5-Star Hotels,
> Boutique Hotels,
> Luxury Hotel Residences,
> World-Class Spa,
> International Restaurants and Entertainment.

Business Areas:

> Situated within the Dubai Media and Technology Free Zone (TECOM),
> 100% Foreign Ownership,
> 100% Repatriation of Capital,
> No Minimum Capital Investment,
> No Currency Restriction,
> No Corporate Taxes.

One of the best things about having an office at Dubai Pearl is that you can also buy one of the great residences offered, and virtually eliminate those annoying Dubai commutes to work!

Retail Areas:

> Luxury Shopping Mall,
> 21st Century Covent Garden,
> International and Themed Restaurants,
> Side-Walk Cafes,
> Premium Retail Space,
> Ample Parking.

"We conceived and planned Dubai Pearl as an international quality landmark that will continue to reinforce Dubai as a global city of excellence. Arguably the best location in Dubai deserves nothing less I believe," said Abdul Majeed Al Fahim, Chairman, Dubai Pearl

Dubai Pearl has everything it takes to become another spectacular monument for the region. The architecture of the project and the overall grandeur of the Dubai Pearl Tower will make this Mega Project a World Icon!

This link takes you to the Dubai Pearl website:


Monday, December 1, 2008

Dubai Marina Yacht Club

Dubai is perfectly positioning itself to become one of the top yachting destinations of the world. Ideally located on The Gulf and a top destination for the world's Jet Set, I predict that Dubai will soon be known as the place to be if you are part of the Yachting World. The magnificent Dubai Marina will be the hub for yachting in Dubai, although Dubai will have a number of other exclusive marinas including those being developed by Island Global Yachting.

Since the Dubai Marina will be yachting central for Dubai it is only fitting that Emaar, developer of Dubai Marina, build an exclusive yacht club. And they have-- the newly opened Dubai Marina Yacht Club (DMYC)! According to DMYC:

'Set in the heart of ‘New Dubai’, the Dubai Marina Yacht Club (DMYC) is one of the largest private yacht clubs in the world, with a stunning purpose-built clubhouse and four marinas spread over a manmade 3.5-kilometre canal.

'More than simply a club for those with yachts or a love of the ocean, the DMYC was conceived and designed to satisfy the finer things in life, with both the clubhouse and marina facilities ensuring a 5-star experience from the moment the member arrives at the clubhouse or marina, with fully-trained and knowledgeable staff on call to ensure all marine lifestyle needs are served immediately.'

Eventually DMYC will be home to 500 yachts! Wow!! DMYC contains one of the most architecturally stunning clubhouses you will find anywhere in the world designed by architects Holfords with Hirsch Bedner Associates Design Consultants. At DMYC you will also find:

> Retail Shopping Arcade,
> International Yacht Broker Offices,
> Yacht Chartering,
> Yachting Fashion Boutique,
> Restaurants of all kinds including the world class Aquara seafood restaurant.

There will be special members only facilities and features at DMYC that will include: library and chart room, conference rooms, rooftop garden terrace, VIP courtesy cars, exclusive member events including cocktail parties and boat product launches, valet boat service, member service agents to assist members with all aspects of yacht ownership, etc.

The General Manager of DMYC, Steven Stiglbauer, had this to say:

"Dubai Marina Yacht Club is the first marine club in the extensive portfolio of Emaar and is our contribution to the rich marine sports heritage of the region. The club will drive the marine sports and leisure industry of Dubai and serve as the ultimate destination for marine enthusiasts and boat owners. The diverse array of specially tailored facilities for boat owners will greatly add to their convenience and make marine pursuits easier than ever before.

"The Dubai Marina Yacht Club also welcomes non-members. Apart from restaurants that offer spectacular waterfront views, the Club looks forward to familiarizing them with the Marina-based lifestyle and inspiring them to be active participants in marine pastimes."

DMYC is the perfect addition to the Dubai portfolio of marine related projects. And although at the moment Dubai, like the rest of the world, is taking a beating from the global financial melt-down, this great Emirate shall continue to grow and expand!

This link takes you to the DMYC website:


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fantasy Versus Reality In Dubai, Part 2: Atlantis Dubai Spends $20,000,000 On Grand Opening Party. Tameer To Lay Off Half Its Workforce.

I think this is a perfect example of fantasy versus reality in Dubai. On November 20th Dubai put on the greatest fireworks show in world history on Palm Jumeirah to celebrate the grand opening of Mega Resort, Atlantis The Palm. The entire celebration was reported to cost anywhere from $20,000,000 to $40,000,000 depending on who you want to listen to. It was another Dubai world's biggest and world's best. It was amazing.

Only 4 days later, on November 24th, we learn from ArabianBusiness.com in an article entitled 'Tameer axes half its workforce' that Dubai Mega Developer, Tameer, will lay off HALF its workforce!! From the article:

"UAE-based developer Tameer is to lay off around half of its workforce amid the slowdown in the local real estate market caused by the global financial crisis, Arabian Business has learnt. Tameer last week handed redundancy notices to around 180 employees stating that Dec. 31 would be their last day at work, staff said.

"No one is buying or selling. Everyone wants to sell, no one wants to buy," said another employee.

"The developer's projects include the Podium in Dubailand and Platinum Towers in Business Bay in Dubai, and Tameer Towers on Al-Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, according to its website."

....and then the article goes on about other Dubai Mega Developers axing jobs:

"News of the job cuts comes the same day as Dubai-based developer Omniyat Properties confirmed it has axed nearly a third of its workforce to ride out the real estate downturn. Dubai developer Damac said earlier this month it planned to lay off 200 employees. Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar said on Monday there "might be" redundancies as a result of the slowdown in the market."

I am sure the irony of Dubai throwing a $20,000,000 party while Mega Developer Tameer lays off half its workforce does not escape you. And I am sure you can also see how this perfectly illustrates the fantasy versus reality that is going on in Dubai right now.

This link takes you to the ArabianBusiness.com article used in this post:


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fantasy Versus Reality In Dubai.

With the world economic crisis continuing to get worse and worse and the price of oil dipping into the 40's we are witnessing an extremely negative effect in the Dubai real estate market:

> Prices are being slashed by as much as 40% on residences all over Dubai, including Palm Jumeirah. We see more and more "distressed sales" of properties every day. And this will get even worse as the global financial melt-down continues.

> Many projects are being "put on hold" or cancelled altogether by their developers. "We are at the denial stage where lots of developers know for a fact that their projects should be cancelled and they're either not announcing it or they're saying it's going to be delayed," said Mohannad Sweid, speaking on future Dubai growth at the Nasdaq OMX Investor Conference.

> Dubai real estate brokers are losing their jobs at a rapid pace and this too will continue and get far worse, I think. Developers including DAMAC and Omniyat are also letting employees go.

> Foreign investment in Dubai is slowing at an alarming rate due to the slow down and sometimes collapse of the economies of those countries that were investing heavily in Dubai.

> Real estate prices are falling fast in most countries around the world thus creating many very attractive investment opportunities that investors may favor over Dubai.

I could go on and on. But the point is that Dubai must now take a very close look at its "Limitless" anything is possible outlook. In this financial environment announcing one incredible Mega Project after another is no longer reality, it is pure fantasy. I even sometimes wonder if:

- Palm Deira, which is the size of New York City, will ever be fully developed. Where will all the investment come from to completely develop this Mega Project? I even wonder if Palm Jebel Ali will ever be fully developed.

- Dubai Waterfront, planned to be twice the size of Hong Kong, will ever even come close to reaching that size.

- Dubailand, planned to be the biggest theme park in the world, will end up being scaled way back and ultimately not even reach the size of a Disney park.

- Nakheel Tower will ever even be built. A tower that has been planned to soar one mile into the sky seems a long way from reality.

And there are many, many more projects that I could list. All of the Dubai Mega Projects take ENORMOUS amounts of investment capital to build, and the Dubai government alone cannot foot the bill for all of them. Even with the help of Abu Dhabi, without vast amounts of foreign investment there will be huge pull backs in the overall development of Dubai. This is REALITY. There is no bigger fan of Dubai than myself, but times have changed dramatically and quickly and the boom we saw from 2002 to July 2008 is over.

I know some of the Dubai realtors are predicting that in 3 to 6 months everything will be back to the way it used to be. This is pure FANTASY. It will take at least one year and probably much longer for any kind of meaningful bounce back in the real estate market...which is not even at its bottom yet. And I doubt that even when things do get better that it will be anything like it was from 2002 to July 2008. Investors will be much more cautious with their capital after having gone through one of the worst financial catastrophes in world history.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goldcrest Business Vistas, Ajman

Ajman is exploding with growth! One major reason for this is that real estate in Ajman is quite a bit cheaper than real estate in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. In addition, Ajman is ideally located just minutes from Dubai. We hear a lot about all the Residential Mega Projects going up in Ajman, however what we must also focus on are the commercial towers being developed. Ajman is an ideal location for opening a business in the UAE, and office space there is much more reasonably priced than in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Goldcrest Business Vistas is a 37 storey commercial tower being built in Emirates City, Ajman. The tower is being developed by Star Giga, and I think the project offers an excellent opportunity for investors wanting to purchase office space in Ajman, as well as businesses wanting a UAE location. Goldcrest Business Vistas has been designed to offer local as well as multi-national companies the best environment for doing business:

"The ambitious project seeks to attract a large number of business firms willing to operate in a modern set up. The Goldcrest Business Vistas is a quality real estate development that will truly reflect the forward-looking spirit of Dubai.

"Ajman has tremendous business potential and we are delighted to be part of yet another iconic development in the Emirate. Emirates City, Ajman is one of the most coveted new developments in the United Arab Emirates. Located on the Emirates Road, this is the most ideal environment to launch your business. I am sure Goldcrest Business Vistas shall offer a unique working experience," said Amir Pardesi, Director, Star Giga Establishment and Vice Chairman, Mazyood Giga International.

According to Star Giga, Goldcrest Business Vistas will offer 5 different sizes of offices, ranging from 845 square feet to 1544 square feet. All offices are open plan and hence offer greater interaction and an ideal environment for teamwork. Each office is provided with a washroom and pantry area. You can choose from lake facing offices that will provide inspiration everyday or enjoy the Emirates City view as you work.

Goldcrest Business Vistas is only a 20-minute drive from Dubai and Sharjah International Airports. The tower is 100% Freehold, and the first commercial tower in Emirates City. Amenities include:

**Rooftop Gym and Pool,
**Conference Facilities,
**Business Center,
**Podium Level Multi-National Cuisine Restaurant,
**Concierge Service,
**Wireless Internet & High-Speed Data Network,

"It is apparent that Ajman's economic diversification has been nothing short of blistering, with iconic property developments, Free Trade Zones and tax free earnings for corporations and individuals, providing just some of the reasons for the city's dynamic growth. In line with these significant developments, Star Giga is proud to announce the launch of one of the most distinguished commercial properties. This move further reinforces our commitment to the Emirate as well," said Abid Junaid, Executive Director, ETA Star and Director, Star Giga Establishment.

I think Goldcrest Business Vistas offers a great opportunity for investors wanting to purchase office space in Ajman as well as businesses wanting to open an office there. This project should be a big success!

Here is a YouTube Goldcrest Business Vistas video:


This link takes you to the Goldcrest website:


Monday, November 10, 2008

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

Dubai is rapidly becoming one of the leading financial centers of the world. Already, Trader Monthly magazine has rated Dubai number 10 on its 'Top Trading Cities of the World' list! And Dubai is just getting started! One of Dubai's largest Financial Mega Projects is the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). From DMCC:

'A strategic initiative of the Dubai government, The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) was created to establish a commodity market place in Dubai, and provide industry-specific market infrastructure and a full range of facilities for the gold & precious metals, diamonds & colored stones, energy and other commodities industries. Rated ‘A’ by Standard & Poor’s, the world’s foremost provider of independent credit ratings, DMCC is a free zone authority offering 100% business ownership, a guaranteed 50 year tax holiday and freehold property options.'

DMCC was established in 2002 and occupies a huge 200 hectare area that is the centerpiece of the Jumeirah Lake Towers development. DMCC is ideally located in close proximity to the major port of Jebel Ali and in easy reach of Dubai International Airport. Already DMCC has over 1300 registered members, and the number continues to grow. The DMCC development includes 3 Towers, each tower named after a commodity traded at DMCC:

> Almas Tower (Diamond Tower): This 65 floor Tower has been specifically built to cater to the Diamond Industry. Almas houses the regions only diamond exchange-- the Dubai Diamond Exchange. The Dubai Pearl Exchange will also be located here. The Tower, as you can no doubt imagine, will have the finest hi-tech security systems and secure vaulting facilities for its occupants. Conference Centers, a Business Center, and a Retail Boulevard will also be part of Almas Tower.

> Au Tower (Gold Tower): The tower will be 37 floors high on completion and will have facilities that enhance gold trading and will provide commercial and support facilities for market participants in a wide range of gold-related businesses. The entire Tower will look like one huge piece of gold because all of the glass that makes up the Tower is gold tinted! Au Tower will also have a retail area where all things gold will be offered.

> Ag Tower (Silver Tower): This 37 floor Tower will serve the needs of all other precious commodity related businesses at DMCC.

In addition, DMCC has many plots of land which have been set aside for specialized manufacturing operations that will be opening.

Another large facility at DMCC is the Jewelry and Gemplex which consists of 3 buildings of 12 floors with a total available space of 6000 square meters for each building. The Jewelry and Gemplex has been designed specifically to meet the needs of the jewelry fabrication business. There will even be staff accommodations here complete with dining and entertainment areas to house the jewelry workers!

DMCC will also house an Enterprise Zone. This is a Free Zone that will accommodate actual gold refineries and jewelry workshops. Office space will also be available here as well as all necessary infrastructure.

"Established with the objective of delivering a world-class and specialized market infrastructure to the commodities industry, DMCC has served to streamline commodities trading, by establishing and promoting the concepts of transparency and good governance and implementing international best practices," said Dr. David Rutledge, CEO of DMCC.

DMCC is a premier Dubai Financial Mega Project that will take the Emirate to the forefront of the financial world! Along with Business Bay and Dubai International Financial Centre, DMCC will make Dubai a leading global financial powerhouse!

This link takes you to the DMCC website:


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sharq Village & Spa, Doha, Qatar

Sharq Village and Spa is a 5-Star luxury resort located in Doha, Qatar at Ras Abu Aboud, and managed by Ritz Carlton. With the huge amount of expansion and development taking place in Qatar, and all of the oil and gas revenues rolling in, Doha is the perfect location for a luxury resort like Sharq. The project was developed by Qatar National Hotels Company at a cost of $110Million and officially opened in October 2006.

Sharq combines traditional architecture and modern facilities in a unique Qatari village architectural style. The amenities have been designed to meet the requirements of international leisure and business travellers. The 98,083 sqm resort includes 174 luxury rooms and suites furnished to the highest standards as is expected from all Ritz Carlton properties.

Here are some of the features offered at Sharq:

> Six Senses Spa. The property’s Six Senses Spa boasts over 6,500 sqm of floor-space and is the biggest Six Senses Spa in the region. The 23 treatment rooms are fashioned on a traditional Qatari environment resembling typical village houses with heated stone massage beds, mud baths and private majlis areas.

> Fitness and Leisure. Sharq Village & Spa is home to the most extensive and luxurious fitness and leisure facilities that Doha has to offer. Swimmers and sun-bathers have the option to enjoy 350 meters of private coastline and two chilled, fresh water pools covering over 1,500 sqm.

> Luxury Souq. Sharq Village & Spa offers a traditional souq that includes luxurious retail outlets where one can purchase designer fashion, exotic cigars, traditional Arabic perfumes and exquisite jewelry. Brands include: Zai, Mohammed Al-Sagheer, Al Arabia Oud, Boucheron, and many others.

Other features offered at Sharq Village & Spa include--

> Business Services:

- Business Center,
- Private Boardroom,
- Dedicated Conferencing Team,
- 2 Grand Ballrooms,
- Outdoor Event Facilities,
- Wireless High-Speed Internet Access.

> Destination Services:

- Airport Transfers and Luxury Transportation,
- Meet and Greet Services,
- Hospitality Services,
- Sightseeing Tours,
- Dine-Arounds,
- Personalized Amenities.

> Fine Dining Restaurants:

- Al Liwan
- Al Dana
- Al Wannis
- Al Jalsa

Sharq accommodations, in the Ritz Carlton tradition, are of course the finest and include King Rooms, Twin Rooms, King Suites, Deluxe Suites and a Presidential Suite for VIPs. Villas are also available. All of these feature:

**In-room safe,
**Individual climate control,
**Honor bar,
**Espresso/coffee maker,
**Bed Features: Luxurious 400-thread count down comforter, hypoallergenic foam and feather pillows and custom-designed pillow-top mattress,
**Penhaligon’s bath amenities,
**Rainforest shower,
**A deep soaking tub,
**Bathroom telephone and hair dryer,
**Thick oversized bath towels,
**Plush bathrobes and slippers,
**Marble counters and flooring,
**Entertainment- each room features a 32-inch plasma television,
**Satellite channels,
**Local and international newspapers and magazines.

Sharq Village and Spa has already become one of Doha's top destinations. And why not? This Resort Mega Project offers everything for both business and pleasure. You can come to Sharq to enjoy a relaxing holiday, or to hold an important business conference in a fabulous setting!

Here is a Sharq Village and Spa video from YouTube:


This link takes you to the Sharq Village and Spa website:


Friday, October 31, 2008

Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi-- Will This Be The Gulf's Most Exclusive Address?

There are many exclusive residential addresses in The Gulf. Armani Residences at Burj Dubai, Dubai Marina, Trump Palm at Palm Jumeirah, Villamar at Bahrain Financial Harbour, The Apartments at Kingdom Centre in Riyadh....to name a few of my favorites. However Abu Dhabi may well be giving us the most exclusive and expensive residences in all of The Gulf! The name of the project is Nurai Island. Being developed by Abu Dhabi developer Zaya (which is a joint venture between Tasameem Real Estate and Assas), Nurai will be a private community offering some of the most expensive estates and villas in the world. How expensive? Starting price for the 50 villas being offered is $10Million, and for the 35 estates at Nurai-- $19Million...and up!

If the price to own a home on Nurai does not make the development exclusive enough, consider the location. There are no roads or highways that go to Nurai. The only way to get to the island is by helicopter or speed boat! Nadia Zaal, the chief executive of Zaya had this to say:

"Zaya has a passion for creating unique lifestyle solutions that go beyond bricks and mortar. Using our unique understanding of the clientele and refusing to be bound by convention, Nurai is the most stylish contemporary living experience in the world. On Nurai, you can have your own piece of paradise and still be just minutes from Abu Dhabi. On this incredibly lush island, you will find a distinctive collection of limited edition resort beach front estates and water villas, along with all the services and comforts of a world class boutique resort."

The estates will have private gardens, private pool, private beaches, and will be built over an area of 12,275 square feet. They will have six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. A smaller version of the beach front estates feature five bedrooms and six bathrooms. Each estate is designed to blend with the natural surroundings of the island creating a stress free environment for residents.

The villas will be located on the water and have a cube shape to them, with glass windows on every side. Each villa will have three bedrooms and four bathrooms and occupy 5,540 square feet. Also included with each villa is an 18-meter pool and a roof top with another spa pool and barbecue area.

Nurai Island will also have: a 5-Star boutique hotel with 60 suites, 3 restaurants, multiple lounges, a private helipad and marina with an arrivals lounge for incoming residents and guests, a fitness center offering everything from squash to scuba to kite surfing, and the luxury Espa Spa featuring rejuvenating therapies from all over the world!

Wow! It looks like Nurai Island is yet another "step up" on the luxury ladder for The Gulf. And the world has taken notice. As of this writing almost all of the estates and villas on Nurai Island have been sold!!

This link takes you to the Nurai Island website:


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Van Oord-- The Mega Project Powerhouse You May Never Have Heard Of!

Everyone has heard of Emaar, Nakheel and ALDAR. But one of the most important companies in the Mega Project industry is one that most people have never heard of: Van Oord. Without this company there would be no Palm or World Islands. Van Oord is not a Mega Developer. What Van Oord specializes in is the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT job of LAND RECLAMATION. These are the people that actually CREATE the Palm and World Islands BEFORE the Mega Developers can go to work with their projects.

Van Oord's activities include:

- Land reclamation and artificial islands,
- Extension and improvement of harbors and waterways,
- Maintenance of harbors and waterways,
- Beach nourishment and foreshore replenishment,
- Environmental dredging,
- Trench dredging and backfilling,
- Deep sea dredging,
- Drilling and blasting.

I cannot emphasize enough how important Van Oord's work has been in the Gulf Mega Project Boom. Here are the Van Oord projects in The Gulf:

> Dubai - Beach replenishment and shore protection,
> Dubai - Deira Islands,
> Dubai - Dubai Maritime City,
> Dubai - Dubai Promenade,
> Dubai - Logo Islands,
> Dubai - Palm Deira Developments,
> Dubai - Palm Jumeirah,
> Dubai - Rock Transport,
> Dubai - The World,
> Fujairah and Shuweihat Terminals,
> Bahrain - North Bahrain New Town,
> Qatar - New Doha International Airport,
> Qatar/United Arab Emirates - Dolphin,
> Oman - Sohar Port.

Very impressive! Van Oord also has projects going on in China, India, S. Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, and all over Europe! According to the company:

'Van Oord is a world class marine contractor, working day to day on dredging and marine projects around the world. We have been building tomorrow's infrastructure for over a century now. Our business is to carry out challenging projects with our highly skilled professional staff and our modern production fleet.

'Van Oord executes projects of any size or complexity anywhere in the world. The combination of dedication and entrepreneurship perpetually creates new business opportunities. We offer our clients solutions to their problems - from the designing table all the way to project completion, conscious of the environment and anticipating local circumstances. We are continuously improving our equipment and work methods. Innovative thinking has led us to our present top position in the world of marine contracting.'

Van Oord is little known to the public but held in very high esteem in the Mega Project community. Without their work, the many incredible Mega Projects that are putting The Gulf on page one all over the world, would not exist!

Here is a Van Oord video from YouTube:


This link takes you to the Van Oord website:


Thursday, October 23, 2008

4th Annual Real Estate Investment World Middle East Conference

Here is yet another "should not miss" event that all serious Gulf real estate investors need to attend. The 4th Annual Real Estate Investment World (REIW) Middle East Conference will be held at the Shangri-La, Dubai, November 9-12, 2008. And even though we are in the midst of a world financial melt-down, real estate development is still very strong in The Gulf:

'Although most of the world's real estate markets seem to be dragged down by the on-going US subprime crisis, one realty region particularly stands out with very promising growth potential and ROI - Middle East. As if it has an invisible shield against the worldwide financial adversity, huge amounts of investments have been pouring into this area.

'The 4th edition of REIW Middle East forum is set to address the hottest issues pertaining to investment opportunities within MENA and in mature markets, private equity real estate, property developments and partnership models. This conference will present an excellent platform for you to get first-hand information from key industry players, renowned international experts and major decision-makers in the global property investment industry,' according to Terrapinn, creators of REIW Middle East.

I have taken a close look at the seminars that will be given and they really look great! Here is some of what will be offered:

> Defining the Private Equity Real Estate Proposition in Middle East – Assessing the Investment Climate, Investors’ Appetite and Deal Flow :

- Raising capital – the advantages of MENA liquidity and putting it to work.
- Addressing the competition with US, Asian and European funds.
- What’s attractive for private equity and investors in the Middle East real estate market?
- What type of deals are you pursuing and what type of returns have you seen this past year?
- Origination, execution, transformation and exit: challenges faced by PERE managers in the Middle East and how can they be overcome.

> Investing into Middle East Property Development Companies – The Smart Gateway to Entering the Middle East Real Estate Market:

- Transparency and corporate governance: the benchmarks for success and why it matters to private equity in the Middle East.
- Value creation strategies: How can Middle East developers harness the capital management expertise and international know-hows of global private equity?

> Developing Profitable Properties in the Middle East Through World Class Architectural Design, Engineering Support and Project Management Expertise:

- Addressing the role of developers and its value-adds to the engineering sophistication and construction expertises in Middle East property market.
- Mitigating the growing execution risks driven by the frenetic pace of developments - how can cost escalation be contained with rising construction and building materials costs?
- Benefiting from the ongoing infrastructure developments within the Middle East.

> Property Market Performance Update and Outlook in the MENA Region: Identifying High Yielding Real Estate Sectors for Investment Opportunities:

- Evaluating the investment climate in key Middle East markets: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar.
- Affordable housing – a necessity in the region, but how attractive is this to investors? What are the yields and returns compared to luxury housing?
- Appreciation of the offices and commercial spaces in Qatar and Kuwait – will the trend continue in 2009?
- Construction of mega malls and mall extensions – examining how generating high level of rental returns can attract significant investment interest in retail spaces.
- The multi-faceted future of the hospitality sector in the Middle East – are Shariah compliant hotels an emerging trend?

All of the above is just part of what will be offered at REIW Middle East! This kind of information is invaluable for those serious about investing in Gulf real estate. If you can attend this conference I would highly recommend you do so.

This link takes you to the REIW Middle East 2008 website:


Sunday, October 19, 2008


And what a battle this will be! WOW!! Two great Mega Developers, Nakheel of Dubai and Kingdom Holding of Saudi Arabia, are preparing for a Mega Project "battle" over who will build the world's tallest skyscraper! A battle that will astound the world!

At this year's Cityscape Dubai, Nakheel unveiled a new landmark project called Nakheel Harbour and Tower. At just about the same time in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the international architectural exhibition 'Towards the First World,' Kingdom Holding - the multinational investment company founded by world's richest Arab, Prince Alwaleed - unveiled Kingdom City and Kingdom Tower.

Both of these Mega Projects feature towers that will surpass Burj Dubai in height and grandeur! I will now give you what I currently know about each project.


> The height of Nakheel Tower will be over 1km (3,280 ft.),

> Total cost will be over $38 Billion,

> The tower was designed by Woods Bagot architects,

> Nakheel Tower will be located in the center of New Dubai near Jebel Ali,

> The tower will be a combination of four individual towers joined at various levels and centered on a single open atrium,

> Design elements for the tower will contain themes from Spain’s Gardens of Alhambra, Egypt’s Harbor of Alexandria, Iran’s Isfahan Bridges, and Morocco’s Promenade of Tangier,

> The tower will have over 150 elevators, more than 200 floors and will take an estimated 500,000 cubic meters of concrete to construct,

> A 100 room ultra luxurious hotel will be located at the top of Nakheel Tower,

> Project completion estimated for 2020.

Sounds fantastic! Just imagine what the Dubai skyline will look like when BOTH Burj Dubai and Nakheel Tower are finished!


> Height of Kingdom Tower to be over 1km (3,280 ft.),

> Cost is estimated at $27 Billion, which includes Kingdom City,

> Kingdom Tower will be located in Jeddah, the business center of Saudi Arabia,

> The design of the tower will be like a piece of beautiful sculpture reflecting the unique character of Jeddah and its natural surroundings,

> The tower is being developed by Kingdom Holding, an investment and development company founded by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal,

> Kingdom Tower and Kingdom City will "signify Kingdom Holding's contribution in placing Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the first world and reaffirming Kingdom Holding as one of the world's leading real estate developers," according to Prince Alwaleed,

> Some of the features of Kingdom Tower include a 5-Star hotel, office space, and luxury residences that encompass dramatic, sweeping views of the Red Sea.

Incredible! Kingdom Tower will be a Saudi masterpiece that the whole world will be in awe of!

So there you have it. Two great Mega Developers developing two of the greatest towers ever built in world history! What a race! What a battle! This is what LEGENDS are made of!

This link takes you to the Nakheel Harbour and Tower website-


...and this link takes you to the Kingdom Holding website (note: there is no separate website for Kingdom Tower as of this writing)-


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Chedi, Muscat, Oman

Oman is rapidly becoming one of the premier tourist destinations of The Gulf. This Sultanate has created some of the most beautiful resorts found anywhere in the world. The Chedi, opened in 2003 and developed by General Hotel Management Ltd. (GHM), is one of Oman's finest resorts! It is located on its own private beach at the Bouchar Beachfront of Muscat and the architecture used in the project combines both Arabian and Asian themes.

The Chedi is an Ultra-Luxury development that is so beautiful it sometimes appears to me that it materialized right out of some modern day Arabian fantasy! The gardens are palatial with exotic flowers, geometrically perfect greenery and trickling fountains. The lobby features sparkling marble services, a symphony of Arabic lanterns, and fragrant flowers to welcome guests as they check-in...with drink and cold towel in hand! The Chedi is a great place to go if you need to de-stress from the fast pace of the Dubai financial scene.

Recreational Features:

> Spa,
> Gym & Health Club,
> Private Beach,
> 2 Swimming Pools,
> 2 Tennis Courts,
> Library,
> Lounge,
> Chedi Club,
> Sightseeing Tours,
> Fine Art Gallery & Boutique Shop.

The Spa is really something! It offers all kinds of exotic treatments like:

**Ocean. A 3 hour treatment that includes seaweed wrap, mineral body scrub and an ocean bath,

**Chedi Indulgence. Another 3 hour treatment featuring floral bath and aromatherapy,

**Silk. A 2 hour treatment with Balinese massage, silk body scrub and a body masque,

**Omani Bliss. I will leave this one up to your imagination!

The Chedi Spa is where you want to be if you are looking to unwind and totally relax!

The Chedi offers 4 varieties of luxury accommodations: Serial Rooms, Chedi Deluxe Rooms, Chedi Deluxe Club Rooms, and Chedi Club Suites. All are top of the line-- bright, airy, fine furnishings, views of either the Gulf of Oman or Haajjar Mountains.

Room Features:

- Satellite TV,
- High Speed Internet Access,
- Mini-bar,
- 24 hour Concierge Service,
- On-call Medical Service,
- Electronic Safe,
- 2 Independent Phone Lines,
- International Direct Dial Service.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a big fan of Oman. It is not as dynamic as Dubai or Abu Dhabi....but it is not meant to be. Rather, Oman is like an Arabian Oasis where you can go to rejuvenate, relax and recharge. And resorts like The Chedi offer the finest facilities anywhere in The Gulf to do this!

This link takes you to the GHM website where you can click on The Chedi, Muscat sub-site:


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Will MONACO Be Home To Next Palm Island?!

This is some of the most interesting and exciting Mega Project news I have heard in quite some time! Many of us were guessing where the next Palm Island would be built. Naturally we thought it would be somewhere in the Middle East. My guess was Ajman and I heard many rumors to support this. Well, its not Ajman....in fact its not even the Middle East. It looks like it will be Monaco....on the French Riviera!! WOW!! This was announced via an article in ArabianBusiness.com entitled 'Monaco Aims To Start Work On Palm Replica In 2011.' Here is an excerpt from the article which came out on Oct 2, 2008:

'The race is on to build a replica of Dubai's world famous Palm islands in the Mediterranean tax haven of Monaco.

'Architecture giants Norman Foster and Daniel Libeskind are reportedly in the running after ruler Prince Albert II invited bids for the multi-billion-dollar artificial peninsula project, jutting out into the sea from below the Monte Carlo casino.'

Wow! Monaco is already the Jet Set capital of the world and home to some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. Monaco is also a tiny principality with extremely limited amounts of property left for development. So what do you do if you want to expand but you don't have enough property available?? You build a new Palm Island! More from the ArabianBusiness.com article:

'The Prince will choose the winner from the five bidders and the result is due to be announced by February next year, with work to begin by 2011 and expected to last 10 years.

'A playground for the rich and famous, the plans underline the principality's determination not to be left in the shade by Dubai which is well advanced with its plans for three man-made islands, being built by developer Nakheel.'

A Monaco Palm Island will no doubt become a primary tourist destination for Europe and a fabulous new addition to Monaco, which will no doubt build more casinos, luxury hotels, luxury villas and homes, etc. on the island. It all makes a lot of sense to me. The ArabianBusiness.com article concludes:

'Estimated to cost up to $15 billion, the massive Monaco project would add 10 hectares to the principality's territory, according to media reports in France.

'Monaco's prime minister, Jean-Paul Proust, is quoted as saying Britain's Foster and his US rival Libeskind stood out among the five shortlisted bids for their technical and environmental qualities and respect for the natural site.

'But he stressed that no decision had been made and that Monaco authorities would review all bids in the light of the global economic crisis.'

It looks like the deal for a Monaco Palm Island could get the go-ahead anytime! I think a Palm Island would be great for Monaco giving the principality tremendous new potential for expansion and development of a wide variety of projects they currently do not have the space for. It looks like Dubai's Mega Project wisdom has spread to Europe!

This link takes you to the ArabianBusiness.com article used in this post:


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gulf Will Be Primary World Financial Center

I have been telling you that The Gulf will emerge as the next big world financial center. With all the financial chaos going on in the USA and other parts of the globe right now it becomes clear to me that the new financial powerhouses of the world will be:

> The Gulf
> China
> India

This is where the growth is! As I stated in a previous post, the new mantra in the world of high finance is:

'Dubai, Shanghai, Mumbai....or Goodbye!'

So true.

And just look at some of the major Financial Mega Projects being built in The Gulf:

> Dubai International Financial Centre,
> Business Bay,
> Dubai Multi Commodities Centre,
> Bahrain Financial Harbour,
> RAK Financial City,
> King Abdullah Economic City,
> Barwa Financial District.

I was therefore quite delighted when I received an invitation to the Derivatives in the Middle East Conference to be held at Raffles Dubai, October 28-29, 2008. Here is a brief intro to the conference from Euromoney Seminars, the conference's creator:

'Derivatives and structured products in the Middle East are on the verge of an explosion. As GCC-based banks become more actively involved in global markets, the need for derivatives to hedge their exposure is categorical to the future growth of their business. Couple all this with the unprecedented growth of Islamic finance and the development of shari’ah compliant derivatives and structured products, the opportunities in the Middle East for derivatives bankers are unrivalled to anywhere else in the world.'

Here are some of the important issues that will be addressed at the conference:

> Assessing the liquidity of local derivatives markets with offshore markets – a practical comparison of sophistications across GCC markets.

> What derivatives trades are being approved by local regulators?

> What derivatives are permissible under shari’ah?

> How are asset managers and hedge funds employing derivatives to manage Islamic assets?

> What is the appetite for structured products and derivative-based investments amongst private bankers and high net-worth (HNW) individuals?

Here are some of the forums that will be given at the conference:

- Igniting the GCC’s equity derivatives boom – how are international investors using derivatives to tap into the region’s economic escalation?

- Setting standards within the framework of shari’ah – what are the ethical issues with Islamic derivatives?

- What risks are Islamic financial institutions exposed to and how are they being mitigated?

- Listed derivatives in the Middle East – a regional and international context.

- Managing a shari’ah compliant treasury – how are derivatives used by Islamic institutions to manage asset and liability risk?

- Demystifying Islamic derivatives – a practical comparison of cash flows in conventional swaps to shari’ah compliant structures.

More and more conferences like this are coming to The Gulf for one reason only-- the world fully understands that the The Gulf is becoming one of the most important financial centers on the planet!

This link takes you to the Derivatives in the Middle East Conference website:


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Schon Business Park, Dubai

Dubai, and the rest of The Gulf, are expanding at such a fast pace that more and more business space is required for all of the companies opening in this region. Dubai is without a doubt the leader in opening new businesses in the UAE and the $200Million Schon Business Park, located in the Dubai Investments Park, will provide more much needed office space for the rapidly expanding Dubai business sector.

Schon Business Park is being developed by Schon Properties, and will target a wide variety of companies from new start-up ventures to established corporations. It has been developed to provide end-users with a greater flexibility and choice than that offered to most businesses, with a variety of commercial spaces that can match the needs and requirements of any business. According to Danial Schon, Vice President of Schon Properties:

"Our extensive market research revealed that Dubai Investments Park and the Jebel Ali Free Zone area face a major shortage of office space, and a lot of companies are keen on moving offices to New Dubai. Hence, we chose Dubai Investments Park as the location for the project due to its unparalleled demand and its proximity to Dubai World Central and the Jebel Ali Free Zone. In addition to other unique features, the business park is also fitted with three skylights since natural light is one of the core elements in all our development guidelines."

Schon Business Park has a capacity to accommodate 4,000 employees in 410 offices. The facility will provide 3 types of offices:

> Business Center Offices. These offices are located on the first floor of the facility and are ideal for businesses wanting to open up as fast as possible. These offices are completely fitted and furnished as ready to work business centers. This includes internet, fax and telephone facilities, as well as video conferencing, meeting and board rooms.

> Shell Offices. These offices exist as basic shells, to allow businesses to create their own configuration to meet their needs.

> Core Offices. These offices fall in between the Business Center Offices and the Shell Offices. Core Offices are modular fitted out units where the tenant is able to take beneficial occupation of the premises with minimal fit-out required to make it fully operational.

Some of the amenities offered at Schon Business Park include:

- Supermarket
- Currency Exchange
- Restaurants and Cafes
- Spa and Salon
- Health Club
- Travel Center
- Prayer Rooms
- High Tech Security
- Underground Parking

"We have been listening to the needs of the market for a long time now. Following the results of our extensive market research, we developed Schon Business Park, a solution to the shortage of flexible and cost-effective office space in Dubai. One of the main reasons for the high demand was the ideal location within Dubai Investments Park, which incorporates office, residential, retail and recreational areas all at the site itself, and its close proximity to Dubai World Central, Jebel Ali Free Zone, and the Jebel Ali International Airport," said Danial Schon.

Schon Business Park is an ideal facility for any business wanting to locate in Dubai. Even more important however, is that projects of this kind represent excellent investments. Everyone seems to be running to invest in whatever the latest residential project is that comes to market. I think that over the long run investing in Dubai office space will turn out to be an even better investment! Case in point: Schon Business Park is entirely sold out!

This link takes you to the Schon Properties website. There is a nice video of Schon Business Park on the site that you can view.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palm Hills Developments, Egypt

Established in 2005 by Mansour and Maghraby Investment and Development, Palm Hills Developments (PHD) is one of Egypt's premier Mega Project Developers. The company is not very well known outside of Egypt, and perhaps many of you have never heard of PHD, but Palm Hills is developing some of the most impressive projects in the Middle East. According to PHD:

'Our mission to redefine real estate development is focused on building into three directions: our diversified land bank, creative architecture and design, and high quality delivery and upkeep.

'Interweaving these three fundamental cornerstones, we began making our plans; initiating and implementing our strategic long-term ideas to meet the industry’s growing demands whilst ensuring the sustainability of such developments across the board.

'At PHD we uphold our reputation by continuing to deliver quality. Each PHD development project features solid construction principles with aesthetic charm, providing detail and efficiencies that go further than just their visible appeal.'

I will now cover the PHD Mega Projects by location.


> Palm Hills October. A 535,000 sqm gated luxury residential community that will feature The Club, a state-of-the-art sports and recreational facility that includes the five star Bodhi Spa, as well as a football club and a tennis academy.

> Palm Hills Golf Club & Resort. An upscale residential community containing the first 27-hole golf course in Egypt exclusively designed by Nicklaus Design. It also contains a membership-only club in addition to many other top notch services and facilities.

> Palm Parks. This is a commercial and residential development made up mostly of office buildings. Palm Parks has been designed to be a commercial and financial hub.


> Palm Hills Katameya. A residential community offering tailor-made, flexible sizes and designs for each individual home. Katameya is designed to be a haven from the hustle and bustle of city life.

> The Village & The Village Gate. Two residential communities that focus on young people, both located close to American University in Cairo. The architecture of the project is trendy and contemporary. Restaurants, a mall and cinema complex, and health clubs are all part of what is offered at these two projects.


> Palm Hills Sokhna. A luxurious mountain and seaside resort located in Ain El Sokhna. Facilities will include: villas, chalets, hotels, spa and gym, restaurants, night clubs, etc.


> CASA. A 1200 unit apartment complex located on 294,000 sqm of land. CASA will include amenities such as club house and spa, swimming pools, tennis courts, children's play areas, restaurants, etc.


> Hacienda Bay. An upscale 2,305,800 sqm beach resort with signature golf course, hotels, holistic spa, "party beaches," town homes, chalets and villas.

The Palm Hills Developments are leading the way in the rapid real estate expansion occurring in Egypt. Like the UAE, Egypt has incredible potential for Mega Project growth and Palm Hills Developments is a primary player in the industry!

This link takes you to the Palm Hills Developments website:


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cityscape Dubai 2008: World's Greatest Real Estate Event!

Simply put, Cityscape Dubai 2008 - taking place at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, October 6-9, 2008 - will be the largest and greatest real estate event in world history! No real estate event is more important or larger than Cityscape Dubai. Last year the event attracted 51,855 visitors and this year we will probably see even more. All of the great Mega Developers will be at Cityscape Dubai: Emaar, Nakheel, ALDAR, DAMAC, Sorouh, Tatweer, Omniyat, Hydra, Tamouh, and many, many more. Last year there were 849 exhibitors! All of the Mega Projects being built and still in planning will be on exhibit for all to see. And loads of real estate deals at all levels will take place at Cityscape Dubai.

Here are the types of companies that will have exhibits at Cityscape Dubai:

> Property Developers:
- Residential,
- Office,
- Commercial,
- Hotel & Leisure,
- Retail,
- Industrial,
> Cities & Regional Authorities:
- Investment Promotion Agencies,
- Economic Development Authorities,
- City Promotion Agencies and Authorities,
- Location marketing Agencies,
- Regional Development and Investment Zones,
- Inward Investment Organizations,
> Property Financiers:
- Investors,
- Financial Institutions,
- Financial Consultants,
- Fund Management,
> Property Owners,
> Property Development Consultants,
> Architects,
> Designers,
> Urban Planners,
> Engineering Consultants,
> Major Contractors,
> Project Management Companies,
> Consultants.

In addition to all of the exhibits, Cityscape will offer many events and seminars including...


- Real Estate Modeling,
- Investment Manager Selection,
- Real Estate Leadership Strategy Summit,
- Real Estate Investment & Development Conference,
- Hotel & Tourism Investment & Development Conference,
- World Architecture Congress,
- Architecture In The Arab/Islamic World.


- Changing Lender Landscape In Dubai,
- How Smart Buildings Can Be Green Buildings,
- UAE/ITALY Real Estate Investment Opportunities,
- Anti-Speculation Law,
- Tradition Meets The Future: Integrating Building Automation Systems,
- Rotating Skyscrapers – the Worlds 1st Fully Rotating Tower,
- 21st Century Building Telecommunication Strategies.

Here are some of the top level speakers that will attend Cityscape Dubai 2008:

- Marwan Shehadeh, Managing Director, Al Futtaim Capital, UAE,
- Lisa Dale, Partner – Head of property Department, Al Tamimi & Company, UAE,
- Barmak Besharaty, Managing Director, Almas Capital, UAE,
- Sanjay Vig, Managing Director, Alpen Capital ME Limited, UAE,
- Arif Alharmi, CEO, Amlak Finance, UAE,
- Nael Mustafa, CEO, Arcapita Bank, Bahrain,
- Elaine Jones, CEO, Asteco, UAE,
- John Hermann, Special Counsel, Global Projects, Baker Botts, UAE,
- Gareth Williams, Director Real Estate Group, Barclays Capital, UAE,
- John Gellatly, Managing Director Real Estate, Blackrock, UK,
- Eduardo Machado, Managing Director, Carlyle Group, Brazil,
- Wencesla Bunge, Managing Director – European-Latin American Head Real Estate Group, Credit Suisse, UK,
- Henry Azzam, CEO, Middle East and North Africa, Deutsche Bank, UAE,
- John Knowles, Managing Director – EMEA Capital Markets, DTZ, UK,
- Robin Williamson, Managing Director - Middle East Operations, DTZ International, UAE,
- David Baker, Director Valuations, DTZ Leadenhall, South Africa,
- Geoff Krueger Jr, Director of African Operations, DTZ Leadenhall, South Africa,
- Blair Hagkull, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA, UAE,
- Ian Ohan, Head of Investment Transactions, Middle East & North Africa, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA, UAE.

Truly, Cityscape Dubai 2008 will be a world class real estate event like no other. It is the single most important and anticipated event of its kind! If you can attend Cityscape Dubai 2008 I would highly recommend that you do so. You will learn a tremendous amount about the Mega Project industry...and have a great time doing so!

This link takes you to the Cityscape Dubai 2008 website:


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Will Disney Come To The Gulf?

Most of the time I am posting about all of the incredible Mega Projects being developed in The Gulf. Today I will post on a Mega Project NOT coming to The Gulf...at least not yet. And that Mega Project is the Disney Theme Park. Why isn't Disney opening a Mega Theme Park in The Gulf?? With the gigantic Atlantis The Palm theme resort opening on Palm Jumeirah within days and so many top Mega Entertainment Projects being developed in The Gulf including:

> Dubailand,
> Six Flags,
> Universal Studios Dubailand,
> DreamWorks,
> Bawadi,
> Global Village,
> MGM Grand Abu Dhabi,
> Warner Brothers Theme Park, Abu Dhabi,
> Ferrari Theme Park, YAS Island,
> SeaWorld, Palm Jebel Ali,
> Sega Theme Parks / Emaar,
> WOW Ras Al Khaimah,

....with all of these and more, why isn't the world's leader in Mega Theme Parks - Disney - coming to The Gulf?? Back in February 2007 there were rumors that Disney and World's Richest Arab, Prince Alwaleed, were working to open a Disney theme park in Bahrain. Here are some excerpts taken from an article at BBC News about the deal:

'Feb. 6th, 2007

'Disney park to open in Bahrain

'A Saudi Arabian billionaire is in talks to open a Disney theme park in Bahrain, according to a report.

'Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is discussing the proposed $8bn (£4.1bn) scheme with potential investors, the local al-Waqt newspaper says.

'Kuwait Finance House, the region's second largest Islamic bank, is among those in talks, the paper said.

'It would not be the Prince's first foray into the world of Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

'He indirectly owns 10% of Euro Disney - which operates Disneyland Paris and also struck a deal late last year to distribute Disney merchandise across the Middle East and Africa.

'According to the report, a study has identified the need for a project for family entertainment.

'Disney currently has 11 theme parks including one in Paris and Hong Kong, and has set its sights on Shanghai where China's economic boom has created disposable income among the middle classes.'

After this story broke, Disney denied that they were opening a theme park in Bahrain...and that was the end of it. I continue to be AMAZED that with all of Disney's competitors opening in The Gulf, they have not announced that they too will be opening a theme park in the Middle East. What are they waiting for?? They even have the Disney Channel Middle East which has been going since 1997!

Now let's take a look at where, if they ever do decide to open in The Gulf, Disney would locate. I don't think they would open in Dubai. Why? Dubailand would overshadow them and I don't think they would want that type of direct competition. And I don't think they would want to open a theme park INSIDE of Dubailand....that would also overshadow the Disney brand making them just another attraction in Dubailand.

Abu Dhabi and of course Bahrain seem to be the two most logical choices for a Disney location. Both Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are moving strongly ahead with Mega Project developments, both have enormous amounts of cash to invest in new projects, and both want to become major tourist destinations. A Disney theme park would make either one of them a primary world tourist attraction. Furthermore, I think either Abu Dhabi or Bahrain make good since for Disney since The Gulf is rapidly becoming a world entertainment and tourist center...the perfect location for a new Disney theme park!!

Here is the link to the Disney Bahrain BBC News article used in this post:


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Free Zones Of The UAE: One Of The Foundations Of The Mega Project Boom

One of the primary reasons we are seeing such an incredible Mega Project boom in the UAE is the Free Zone. A free zone is an area within a country (a seaport, airport, warehouse, or any designated area) with clearly defined borders, regarded as being outside the country's customs territory. It has special tax, customs and import laws, with attractive incentives for companies to set up operations. Free Zones are special investment models allowing the client to do business WITHOUT OBSTACLES. Free zones allow companies to do business freely and efficiently within the laws of the free zone authority that governs it.

The UAE Free Zones offer businesses locating in these zones some of the most desirable advantages for doing business offered anywhere in the world, in most cases including:

> Guaranteed 100% Foreign Ownership,
> Zero Corporate Tax,
> Zero Personal Income Tax,
> Zero Import/Export Tax,
> Zero Commercial Levies Tax,
> 100% Repatriation of Capital and Profits,
> No Foreign Exchange Controls,
> State-Of-The-Art Purpose Built Infrastructure,
> Renewable Residence Visas Granted,
> Convenient Locations Near Residential Areas, Banking Facilities, International Transportation Facilities, etc.

Wow!! No wonder businesses from all over the world are coming to Dubai and the other Emirates! The UAE Free Zones are Paradises for doing business! The Free Zones themselves are usually huge Mega Projects and the prosperity these Free Zones bring to the UAE super-charge further Mega Project development. For example:

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a Free Zone....and a gigantic Mega Project. DIFC is being developed as an entire "city within a city" devoted to business and finance. This Free Zone is one of the largest Mega Projects being built anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the financial prosperity that DIFC will create for Dubai will in turn cause the development of more Mega Projects. Why? Because the more prosperous a region becomes the more residential, business and entertainment / leisure developments it builds.

Another example is Dubai Maritime City. This Free Zone devoted to the maritime industry is a huge Mega Project containing an Industrial Precinct, a Maritime Center, Harbor Residences, Harbor Offices, a Marina District and a Maritime Campus.

I will now give you a list of the major UAE Free Zones, including those under development:

> Dubai Airport Free Zone,
> Jebel Ali Free Zone,
> Hamriyah Free Zone,
> Sharjah Airport International Free Zone,
> Ras Al Khaimah FTZ,
> Dubai Internet City,
> Dubai Media City,
> Abu Dhabi Ports Company,
> Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone,
> Ahmad Bin Rashid Free Zone- Umm Al Quwain,
> Ajman Free Zone,
> Dubai Auto Zone,
> DuBiotech,
> Dubai Flower Centre,
> Dubai Gold and Diamond Park,
> Dubai Healthcare City,
> Dubai International Financial Centre,
> Dubai Knowledge Village,
> Dubai Logistics City,
> Dubai Maritime City,
> Dubai Multi Commodity Centre,
> Dubai Outsource Zone,
> Dubai Silicon Oasis,
> Dubai Studio City,
> Fujairah Free Zone,
> Industrial City of Abu Dhabi HCSEZ,
> International Media Production Zone,
> International Humanitarian City,
> Techno Park,
> Dubai Academic City,
> Dubai Auto Parts City,
> Dubai Building Materials Zone,
> Dubai Carpet FZ,
> Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone,
> Dubai Design Centre,
> Dubai Energy City,
> Dubai Textile City,
> Heavy Equipment and Trucks Zone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), Dubai

Dubai has set its sites on becoming one of the world's premier media hubs. In order to accomplish this the Emirate, via Dubai Holding's TECOM division, has created the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ). IMPZ will feature a number of key facilities, spread over 43 million square feet of land, focused on the publishing, printing and packaging, broadcast, film, and music industries. All of the industrial, commercial, residential and community projects at IMPZ will benefit from Freehold Status and therefore will be exempt from all corporate and personal taxes-- a HUGE advantage for companies in the media industry!

Here is some of what IMPZ will offer:

> Pre-engineered units containing warehouses with offices and showrooms,
> Plots of land for businesses to build their own media production outlets,
> Office Towers for companies locating in IMPZ,
> Media Industry Complex,
> Media Tower,
> Media Production Studios: fully-equipped studios that also offer extra equipment for lease,
> Media Market: offers niche services for media professionals,
> Exhibition, Conference and Business Center: offers space for international exhibitions, seminars and events,
> Logistics Center: provides efficient inventory storage and distribution facilities,
> Publishing Pavilion: a center dedicated to the publishing industry,
> Amphitheater and Arena: offers space for big events and exhibitions held at IMPZ,
> Retail and Recreation Center,
> Residential Towers,
> White collar and blue collar residential apartments,
> Community Center,
> Transportation and Service Center: facilities for drivers and their vehicles,
> Internal Transportation System,
> Hotel.

The business offices at IMPZ will be located at Makateb, a cluster of high rise towers that will enable major companies to create prestigious corporate headquarters. Investors here will have a unique opportunity to design and build offices for their specific uses and will be leased on a long term or short term basis by IMPZ. Makateb is ideally situated, offering unprecedented access to the neighboring Emirates Road, Dubai Investment Park and Dubailand.

While IMPZ is being built an area near Makateb called The Gate will be used to house IMPZ offices, and act as a sales center for the project.

According to IMPZ, the residential area will include:

**Masaken, a complex of 38 upscale residential towers,

**The Amwaj Luxury Family Apartments is for senior executives and will consist of 15 residential towers in two parallel wave-shaped rows,

**The Terrace Residential Complex will offer residents the luxury of penthouse-style terraces with their own enclosed lawns, within a complex of 10 buildings of varying elevation,

**The Oasis Residential Complex will provide spacious and economical quality living areas for the blue-collar workforce of the print industry. All residences will be furnished with retail facilities and recreational amenities to meet the after-hours needs of their residents.

I never cease to be amazed at all of the areas Dubai is aiming to become a world leader in. This is part of the overall "Limitless Attitude" that Dubai has become famous for! I have no doubt that IMPZ will make Dubai into one of the top media centers of the world!

This link takes you to the IMPZ website:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Emaar Or Nakheel-- Who Ultimately Is Dubai's Number One Mega Developer?

There are many great Dubai Mega Developers, however I think most people will agree that the top two are Emaar and Nakheel. These two are developing some of the most incredible Mega Projects in world history! In this post I want to compare Emaar and Nakheel to see if we can decide who is NUMBER ONE in importance to the overall long term development of Dubai.

I will start by listing what I consider to be the most important Mega Projects being developed in Dubai by each company. I will not cover all their projects, which I have done in previous posts, just those I see as being the most important to Dubai's development as a primary world hub and destination.


> Burj Dubai
> Dubai Marina
> Downtown Burj Dubai
> Arabian Ranches


> Palm Jumeirah
> Palm Jebel Ali
> Palm Deira
> The World
> Dubai Waterfront
> Jumeirah Lake Towers
> Al Burj

Taking a look at both lists I would have to say that RIGHT NOW Emaar's most important project is Burj Dubai and Nakheel's most important project is Palm Jumeirah. Both projects are almost complete and already world icons. But which is more important to Dubai? I would have to say Burj Dubai. As the tallest building in all the world Burj Dubai has brought huge amounts of publicity to Dubai with much more to come. Palm Jumeirah has of course also brought an enormous amount of publicity to Dubai, but, alas, not as much as the world's tallest building. There is only ONE world's tallest building, but there are many man made islands being developed.

Therefore, RIGHT NOW, I consider Emaar to be more important than Nakheel. However when I look into the FUTURE the picture changes. Burj Dubai will not remain the world's tallest building. Nakheel is building the Al Burj which will be even taller than Burj Dubai. In addition, the 3 Palm Islands, once they are all finished, will be world icons on par with the Pyramids of Egypt. And Nakheel's World Islands project has already become famous internationally!

Both Emaar and Nakheel have Multi-Tower developments going up. For Emaar we have Dubai Marina and for Nakheel we have Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). These two Mega Developments are even being built across from one another....talk about competition! Dubai Marina will probably end up being more important than JLT for Dubai, so in the 'Battle of the Towers' I would have to give it to Emaar.

Nakheel is building the gigantic Dubai Waterfront, the largest waterfront development in the world, that will eventually house 1.5 million residents and be bigger than Beirut and Manhattan! Emaar is building Downtown Burj Dubai and Arabian Ranches.... both of these Emaar projects are fabulous developments however they do not compare in size and scope to Nakheel's Dubai Waterfront.

When I take all of the above information into account who do I think will ULTIMATELY be the most important developer for Dubai's future? I would have to say Nakheel. I think that once all of the projects I have listed are complete, the Nakheel projects will benefit Dubai even more than the Emaar projects. Thus I would have to say that Nakheel is the NUMBER ONE Dubai Mega Developer!

These links take you to the Nakheel and Emaar websites where you can decide for yourself who is number one:



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gulf Will Be New Luxury Capital Of The World!

With all the money pouring into The Gulf from high oil prices, the real estate boom, and massive business expansion via Mega Projects like Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay, Bahrain Financial Harbour and King Abdullah Economic City....is it any wonder that the Luxury Industry is skyrocketing in The Gulf? Yachts! Private Jets! Exotic Cars! Luxury Estates! Multi Million Dollar Jewelry....and much, much more are all in high demand in The Gulf! Therefore I was not surprised when I received an invitation to an event called Leaders in Luxury.

Leaders in Luxury is a 2 day forum developed by World Business Research (WBR) for leaders in the luxury industry, and will take place Oct. 20-22, 2008 at The Monarch Dubai. It will be THE place to be if you want to expand your luxury brand in the Middle East. Here are some of the people and companies that will be attending:

> Concetta Lanciaux, Strategic Luxury Goods Advisor, Senior Advisor to the Chairman, Groupe Arnault,

> Anan Fakhreddin, Head of Sales & Marketing, Abyaar Real Estate Development,

> Ravi Thakran, Group President - South Asia, South East Asia and Middle East, LVMH Group,

> Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, Chalhoub Group,

> Philippe McGarry, Managing Director, De Beers Middle East,

> Sonya de Castelbajac, Regional Marketing Director, YSL Beaute Middle East,

> Pierre Fayard, Managing Director, Sephora Middle East,

> Guido Grassi Damiani, Chief Executive, Damiani Group,

> David Beath, Internal Innovation, Jumeirah Group,

> Joe Nahhas, Regional Director, Montblanc,

> Hugues de Pins, Regional Director, Vacheron Constantin,

> Stephane De Palmas, Director, Van Cleef & Arpels,

> Hugues Jucker, Regional Director Middle East, Chopard,

> Fabian Krone, CEO, A. Lange & Söhne,

> Carmine Rotondaro, Worldwide Real Estate Director, Gucci

> Tawfique Abdullah, Chairman, Damas Jewellery,

> Werner Baumgartner, Managing Director, Swarovski Middle East.

Very, very impressive, and that is just a partial list! Here are some of the industries that will be represented at the event:

- Real Estate
- Automobiles
- Hotels and Resorts
- Travel and Leisure
- Spa
- Boating and Yachting
- Sports and Sporting Goods
- Fashion and Accessories
- Fragrances and Cosmetics
- Jewelry and Watches
- Aviation
- Interior Design
- Furniture
- Electronic Appliances
- Dining
- Wines and Spirits
- Financial Services
- Food and Beverage
- Home and Home Furnishings
...and many others.

There will be many forums taking place at Leaders in Luxury, some that I find of particular interest include:

**Charting The Evolution Of The Luxury To New Luxury And The Impact On Future Luxury Business Models.

**Defining Luxury - What Does It Mean For Today's Luxury Consumer In The Middle East?

**Identifying Innovative Market Entry Strategies And Developing Business Models Suited to the Middle East.

**Successful Retail In the Middle East - What Works & What's Unique?

**Harnessing The Power Of Celebrity Endorsement.

Leaders in Luxury will conclude with an Awards Ceremony:

'The Leaders in Luxury Middle East Awards were conceived to identify and honor regional luxury leaders and their contributions in the Middle East. The Awards aim to elevate and highlight innovations and creativity in the luxury industry that have not only touched the hearts of luxury consumers, but also inspired their peers.

'A panel of industry Judges is being assembled now to assess all the nominations in a rigorously independent and impartial process managed by WBR Ltd. The Judges, drawn from the ranks of industry practitioners and thought leaders, will evaluate all the nominations to determine the shortlist, and will select a winner in each category, with the results kept confidential until the Awards Ceremony,' according to WBR.

Leaders in Luxury will be a first class event definitely worth attending! The Luxury Industry in The Gulf is going to continue growing at a super-fast pace. In fact, The Gulf could very well emerge as the new Luxury Capital of the World!

This link takes you to the Leaders in Luxury website:


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Building Materials City, Abu Dhabi

Building Materials City (BMC) is a 230,000 sqm, $1.1Billion industrial Mega Project being developed in Abu Dhabi by Manazel Real Estate in partnership with United Group Holdings. BMC will be a center for the UAE’s manufacturers, importers and suppliers of building materials. Ownership will be allowed to locals and foreigners via long-term leases. BMC will provide the construction materials necessary for the execution of a wide array of future real estate projects in the UAE and throughout The Gulf:

'Building Materials City will bring together the leading companies in all facets of real estate construction and development by providing attractive prices and comprehensive services for its leaseholders and investors. From construction material and decoration companies to real estate developers, engineering and consultancy firms, Building Materials City provides the ideal locale to grow together. It represents a key component of the UAE's future growth and development plans because every current and future real estate project depends on materials and associated services, which will for the first time be available all in one place,' according to BMC.

BMC has 4 major objectives:

- To deliver a high quality project at the best price possible,
- To bring together all the leading companies relating to building materials,
- To provide a comprehensive range of real estate related services in one place,
- To contribute to the growth of the UAE real estate sector and the local economy by attracting investment and revolutionizing the structure of the industry.

Sounds terrific! With The Gulf undergoing the largest real estate boom in world history, a Mega Project like BMC is just what is needed! One of the major features of BMC will be the first Building Materials Exchange in the Middle East. This exchange is designed to attract companies and investors from all over the world wanting to participate in The Gulf real estate boom.

BMC will feature several different zones as follows:

> Commercial Zone. This zone will contain 17 towers, each equipped with the latest technologies and conveniences to facilitate business. This is where all of the companies wanting to do business in BMC will have their offices.

> Residential Zone. BMC, being a complete self contained city, will offer 32 residential towers spread throughout the development. Company owners and executives can live in style, while remaining close to their businesses. This is great! No long commute to and from work. Everything is all in one place!

> Shopping Zone. This zone will consist of a huge 100,000 sqm mall. The ground floor will have a large hypermarket and a variety of retail shops to cater to the needs and desires of both the commercial and residential population of BMC. The second floor will be a complete materials shop and food court. Also on the second floor will be a temporary exhibition center and location for the Building Materials Exchange.

> Hospitality Zone. The Hospitality Zone will be home to a 3-Star hotel ideal for those coming to BMC to do business. The hotel will provide the latest amenities and technologies ideal for doing business, while at the same time providing a comfortable stay at BMC.

BMC is EXACTLY what The Gulf real estate boom needs right now: an entire city devoted to the building materials industry. With the tremendous real estate expansion going on in The Gulf, BMC is the perfect Industrial Mega Project for the region.

This link takes you to the BMC website:


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Towers Of The Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina, being developed by Emaar, is one of Dubai's greatest Mega Projects and also one of the finest addresses in The Gulf. In a previous post I covered the Dubai Marina, however in this post I will give you the most complete list available of each tower either developed, or being developed, at Dubai Marina.


> 23 Marina
> 2N Tower
> Al Areifi Tower
> Al Bateen Tower
> Al Dua'a Marina
> Al Majara 1
> Al Majara 2
> Al Majara 3
> Al Majara 4
> Al Majara 5
> Al Sahab Tower 1
> Al Sahab Tower 2
> Al Seef Tower
> Ary Marina View
> Azure
> Bay Central
> Bay Side Residence
> DEC Towers
> Delta 2
> Dorra Bay
> Dreams
> Dubai Marina 1 / Al Mass
> Dubai Marina 1 / Al Yass
> Dubai Marina 1 / Anbar
> Dubai Marina 1/ Fairooz
> Dubai Marina 1 / Mesk
> Dubai Marina 1 / Murjan
> Eden Blue
> Elite Residence
> Emirates Crown
> Emirates Marina
> Gargash Tower
> Grosvenor House
> Infinity Tower
> Iris Blue
> KPM Tower
> KG Tower
> La Residencia Del Mar
> La Riviera
> La Reve
> Lootah Complex
> Mag 218
> Manchester Tower
> Marina 101
> Marina Crown
> Marina Diamond 1
> Marina Diamond 2
> Marina Diamond 3
> Marina Diamond 4
> Marina Diamond 5
> Marina Diamond 6
> Marina Heights
> Marina Mansions
> Marina Park
> Marina Pearl
> Marina Pinnacle
> Marina Promenade 1
> Marina Promenade 2
> Marina Promenade 3
> Marina Promenade 4
> Marina Promenade 5
> Marina Promenade 6
> Marina Residence
> Marina Sail
> Marina Scape Avant
> Marina Scape Oceanic
> Marina Star
> Marina Tower
> Marina View Tower A
> Marina View Tower B
> Marina Terrace
> MY Tower
> Number One Dubai Marina
> Ocean Heights
> Ocean Heights 2
> Orra Marina
> Pacific Tower
> Panoramic
> Park Island Blakely
> Park Island Bonaire
> Park Island Fairfield
> Park Island Sanibel
> Pentominium
> Pier 24
> Platinum Tower
> Princess Tower
> Roshana Tower
> Royal Oceanic
> Shahla Tower
> Silverine
> Skyview
> Sulafa Tower
> Supreme Tower
> The Atlantic
> The Belvedere
> The Cascades
> The Jewels Tower A
> The Jewels Tower B
> The Light House
> The Point
> The Torch
> The Waterfront
> The Waves Tower A
> The Waves Tower B
> The Zen
> Time Place
> Trident Grand Residence
> Trident Tower
> Westside Marina
> Yacht Bay
> Zumurud

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Escan Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Dubai is the "Emirate Of Towers!!" There are so many magnificent towers being built and planned in Dubai: Burj Dubai, Dubai Towers, Emirates Towers (finished), Al Burj....and thousands more. Escan Tower is a spectacular newly planned $700Million, 60-storey skyscraper that will have one of the most enviable locations in all of Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road-- the main thoroughfare that links Dubai to Abu Dhabi. One of the many very appealing features of Escan Tower is that it is the FIRST Freehold commercial building on the highway.

The 60 floors of Escan Tower will comprise 40 residential floors and 20 commercial floors. The tower, which is being developed by Escan Real Estate and ACI Real Estate, has been architecturally designed to offer all-angle views, with the infusion of abundant natural light. Escan Tower will offer sweeping views of the waterfront by day, and by night the famous city lights overlooking Sheikh Zayed Road, and the majestic Burj Dubai located just meters away. Wow! What a view!

"Escan Tower is a first on many fronts not only for its impressive aesthetic appeal, and rare freehold status on prime real estate, but importantly it also marks the first step in our collaborative successes with ACI. We have deep respect for ACI's insightful understanding of the market and international alliances, and believe their efforts shown to date uphold our shared mission of delivering with unyielding energy and commitment to excellence," said Saeed Matar Bin Belaila, Chairman of Escan Real Estate.

Some of the features of Escan Tower include:

> Fully equipped Business Center,
> Luxurious lobby and reception,
> High speed elevators,
> Men's and women's Spas,
> Private swimming pool,
> Game Room,
> High end retail shops and restaurants,
> 24 hour security and service.

Mr. Robin Lohmann, Managing Director of ACI Real Estate, had this to say about the project:

"Escan Tower clearly distinguishes itself in many important facets. Importantly it lends testament to the unsurpassed benefit that can only come from building strength upon strength to achieve a single spectacular vision. We at ACI are excited about further collaborative successes with Escan Real Estate in the near future."

From a purely investment point of view, I think Escan Tower, with its Freehold Status and fantastic location right on Sheikh Zayed Road, will turn out to be a big winner for investors. From an architectural point of view, I think the tower will be one of the most stunning in Dubai!

This link takes you to the Escan Tower section of the ACI Real Estate website:


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sovereign Wealth Funds Of The Gulf: Mubadala

Abu Dhabi's Sovereign Wealth Funds seem to be constantly in the news. Mubadala is an investment and development arm (i.e. Sovereign Wealth Fund) of the Government of Abu Dhabi that has made headlines with its announcement that it will set up an $8 billion joint venture firm with U.S. company General Electric (GE). But GE is only the tip of the iceberg of the gigantic Mubadala investment portfolio.

Mubadala was started by the Government of Abu Dhabi to establish new companies and to acquire strategic holdings in existing companies, either in the UAE or abroad, with special focus on generating sustainable economic benefits for Abu Dhabi through a careful selection of business ventures in partnership with local, regional and international investors. Mubadala invests in a wide range of strategic sectors including energy, utilities, real estate, public-private partnerships, basic industries and services so as to diversify and further develop the rapidly growing economy of Abu Dhabi, while achieving superior returns on its investments.

The Officers of Mubadala are:

- HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman
- Mohamed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Vice Chairman
- Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO
- Carlos Obeid, CFO
- Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, COO

I will now give you a complete list of the Mubadala investments. Mubadala either owns all or part of these companies.


> Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies / UAE
> Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company / UAE
> Abu Dhabi Knee and Sports Medicine Center / UAE
> Al Hikma Development Company / UAE
> Al Taif Technical Services / UAE
> Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) / UAE
> Horizon International Flight Academy / UAE
> Liwa Energy / UAE
> Pearl Energy / Singapore
> Abu Dhabi UAV Investment Company / UAE
> Injazat Data Systems / UAE
> Capitala / UAE
> Dolphin Energy Limited / UAE
> Leaseplan Emirates / UAE
> Abu Dhabi Terminals / UAE
> Emirates Aluminum Company Limited / UAE
> PF Emirates / UAE
> Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company / UAE
> SR Technics / Switzerland
> Agility Abu Dhabi Company / UAE
> Piaggio Aero Industries / Italy
> Emirates Ship Investment Company / UAE
> Etisalat Nigeria / Nigeria
> Tanqia / UAE
> Al Rusail Power Company / Oman
> Leaseplan Corporation / Netherlands
> Shariket Kahraba Hadjret En Nouss Spa / Algeria
> Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company / UAE
> Algerian Utilities International / Algeria
> Dunia Finance / UAE
> Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality / UAE
> Spyker Cars / Netherlands
> Block 54 Oman / Oman
> Waha Capital / UAE
> Libya Exploration / Libya
> Guinea Alumina Corporation / Guinea
> Advanced Micro Devices / UAE
> AMD / United States
> GE / United States
> National Central Cooling Company / UAE
> TVK Shipyard / Turkey
> The Carlyle Group (via The Carlyle European Leveraged Finance Group) / UAE
> Ferrari / Italy
> ALDAR Properties / UAE
> Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi / UAE
> MGM Grand Abu Dhabi / UAE
> UAE University Project Power Plant / UAE
> Dolphin Gas Project / Qatar
> Hadjret En-Nous Independent Power Project / Algeria
> Mukhaiznah Oil Field Project / Oman
> Oil Exploration Project / Oman
> Oil Exploration Project / Libya
> Abu Dhabi Financial Center Project / UAE
> Integrated International City / Malaysia
> Mubadala Capital Land Real Estate Company / UAE
> Sangaredi Refinery Project / Guinea
> Sowwah Square (on Sowwah Island) / UAE

This link takes you to the Mubadala website:


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