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:


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