"BRETT SIEGEL IS ONE OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE IN MIDDLE EAST REAL ESTATE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING UAE MEGA PROJECTS." Khizer Schon Husain, VP, Schon Properties, Dubai

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:

http://www.aci-dubai.net/project.php?project_id=19

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.

THE MUBADALA PORTFOLIO OF INVESTMENTS

> 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:

http://www.mubadala.ae/

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Palm Jebel Ali, Dubai

Palm Jebel Ali is the second of the three magnificent Palm Islands of Dubai-- the other 2 being Palm Jumeirah and Palm Deira. Palm Jebel Ali, located on the Dubai Waterfront and being developed by Nakheel, will be about 50% bigger than Palm Jumeirah. However, like Palm Jumeirah, it will have 17 fronds, a trunk, a crescent and a crown.

Palm Jebel Ali will be more of a tourist attraction and entertainment destination than Palm Jumeirah or Palm Deira. Through a partnership between Nakheel and Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), Palm Jebel Ali will be home to 4 water theme parks collectively known as Worlds Of Discovery. The individual parks that make up Worlds Of Discovery are:

> SeaWorld
> Busch Gardens
> Discovery Cove
> Aquatica

Worlds Of Discovery will occupy the crescent area of Palm Jebel Ali. It is even being said that when complete, the crescent of Palm Jebel Ali will resemble a giant killer whale!

"Dubai has become one of the world's leading tourist destinations, and a key part of the strategy has been attracting world-class entertainment brands to the Emirate. We have already concluded partnerships with major brands such as Trump, Cirque du Soleil, and Atlantis, and the partnership with BEC is a further example of Dubai's growth as a city of global prominence. We are extremely honored that the Palm Jebel Ali will become home to the first Worlds Of Discovery theme park outside of the U.S., which is not only a major coup for Nakheel, but for the whole of Dubai," said Chris O'Donnell, CEO of Nakheel.

Another outstanding feature of Palm Jebel Ali will be the 1060 Water Homes being built on stilts. When viewed from above, the Water Homes will spell out a verse from an Arabic poem written by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The verse from the poem translates as:

"Take the wisdom of the wise. It takes a man of vision to write on water. Not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey. Great men rise to great challenges."

Providing an unparalleled residential or holiday location, the Water Homes will be made from concrete foundation poles and a wooden structure. The depth of the water below will be approximately 8 to 10 meters and each home will cover a built up area of 3,875 square feet. Boardwalk access to a common parking area and private moorings for personal boats will be provided for each 4-bedroom Water Home.

Other properties available on Palm Jebel Ali include luxury Garden Villas and Signature Villas, with private swimming pools for the Garden Villas and private beaches for the Signature Villas. A selection of apartments, penthouses and town homes on the trunk of Palm Jebel Ali will stretch beyond the original Palm Island (i.e. Palm Jumeirah) and include exclusive sub-developments from top global property development companies.

Also located on the trunk of Palm Jebel Ali will be a strip of eight luxury hotels, three marinas and a Sea Village at the very center. Within the Sea Village will be the region's only sea aquarium with attractions like killer whales and other deep-sea creatures. The shore of the Trunk will offer cinemas, an amphitheater, event plazas and much more.

Palm Jebel Ali, like Palm Jumeirah, will be another Wonder Of The World for Dubai and take the Emirate another step closer to becoming the world's greatest tourist and entertainment destination!

This link takes you to the Palm Islands website:

http://www.thepalm.ae/

...and this link takes you to the Palm Jebel Ali section of the Nakheel website:

http://www.nakheel.com/developments/?palm_jebel_ali

Thursday, August 21, 2008

La Residence By Ivana Trump, Beirut, Lebanon

Donald is not the only Trump with projects in the Middle East. Ivana Trump, Donald's first wife, has teamed up with Mega Developer DAMAC Properties of Dubai to create what will be one of the most prestigious and luxurious addresses in Beirut, La Residence by Ivana Trump! Located in Beirut City Center, the $150Million project is a very unique and spectacular 27-storey tower co-designed by Ivana Trump. The architecture of the tower stands out due to the sleek "Chiseled Wavy" lines of the building.

"We are honored to be endorsed by Ivana Trump, a world-renowned celebrity that is considered a symbol of style, glamour and class. Ivana Trump contributed significantly to the design of the tower that is due to illustrate optimum luxury with its stunning architecture, its state of the art amenities, as well as its location at the heart of the dazzling Beirut City Center", said Peter Riddoch, CEO of DAMAC Properties.

...and Ivana Trump had this to say about the project:

"La Residence is extraordinary in architecture, location and luxury. The design is outstanding, the style very sophisticated and will easily be the limelight of Solidere and the landmark of Downtown Beirut."

This is all wonderful, but maybe Ivana - like Donald - should have gone to Dubai! Remember that Lebanon is not the most stable of environments...to say the least. The gun battles that broke out last May in Beirut illustrate just how explosive the country still is and, in fact, DAMAC has put this project on hold until they feel things have really cooled down in Beirut. I don't blame them. You should understand that investments in Lebanon Mega Projects should only be a small (or zero) portion of your overall portfolio. Just look at DAMAC-- only a very small part of their overall portfolio is in Lebanon developments. And of course if you are looking to make only one or two purchases in the Middle East then you should focus only on the much more stable UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Features of La Residence by Ivana Trump will Include:

> State of the art Gymnasium,
> Temperature Controlled Swimming Pool,
> Exotic Sauna & Jacuzzi,
> 24 hour Concierge Service and Help-Desk,
> House Keeping Services,
> Mail collection and delivery,
> Fine Dining Restaurants, Cafes & Designer Boutiques,
> Exclusive Ivana Trump Boutique,
> Children's Play Area,
> Bank Grade Security Systems & Video Phone Entry,
> Home Security & Surveillance System,
> 4 Levels of Parking.

The residences of the project will be made up of 1, 2, 3, and 4 bedroom apartments as well as larger duplex units. Features include:

**Smart Home Technology (where owners may control temperature, air conditioning, TV, watch children’s room, etc. without being at home),
**Stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea in most apartments,
**Spacious balconies,
**Marble and wooden floorings,
**Floor to ceiling glass windows,
**Maid’s Room with attached bath for 2-bedroom apartments and up,
**Kitchen–Maid’s room direct passage,
**1 to 4 free parking bays for each unit.

I think La Residence by Ivana Trump will be a great addition to Beirut. I hope DAMAC ends up going through with it. The Trump name is just what Lebanon needs to help it rebuild its once great reputation as the Jewel of the Middle East!

This link takes you to the La Residence by Ivana Trump section of the DAMAC website:

http://www.damacproperties.com/new/main/html-v3/la-residence.asp

Monday, August 18, 2008

Salam Yiti, Oman

Salam Yiti is a residential and resort Mega Project located in the rapidly expanding Sultanate of Oman between the Al Hajar Ash Sharqi Mountains and the Gulf of Oman. The development is only a 15 minute drive to Muscat, about 40 minutes away from Muscat International Airport, and minutes from Oman's traditional business and hotel district of Qurm. Salam Yiti covers 420 hectares of land and climbs as high as 140 meters above sea level. The project is being developed by Sama Dubai at a cost of $1.7Billion and is scheduled for completion by 2013.

The concept behind Salam Yiti is to convey the true essence of Oman, harnessing the beauty of the area and offering long stretches of beaches set against an impressive mountain range. It will be a perfect escape for international and regional tourists as well as second home owners in search of tranquility, wellness and relaxation. The architecture is inspired by Oman's traditions and culture and designed in harmony with the surrounding ecosystems.

Dr Rajiha Abdul Amir Ali, Omani Minister of Tourism, said: "Oman's tourism market in general, and the real estate sector in particular, is witnessing dramatic changes in recent years. We are collaborating with the private sector to launch new projects in Oman, and we are delighted that Sama Dubai is introducing new concepts in nature conservation through projects like Salam-Yiti."

Salam Yiti revolves around the extensive use of space and natural beauty, with resorts, residences, wellness centers and health spas set amid landscaping and water features to provide relaxed lifestyle options close to nature. The residential areas of Salam Yiti will offer:

> 1,000+ Apartments
> 400+ Villas
> 720 Townhouses

These residences will in turn be located in 3 different areas:

- Golf View. Residences here are located adjacent to Salam Yiti's Championship Golf Course,

- Mountain. These residences will have views of the Al Hajar Ash Sharqi Mountains and the Gulf of Oman,

- Beachfront. Homes here are located close to the beach so anytime you want to visit the beach all you have to do is walk outside!

Salam Yiti will offer a wide variety of recreational facilities including:

**Signature 18-hole Championship Golf Course & Country Club designed by Robert Trent Jones Il,
**Souk Retail Complex,
**Marina with 150 Berths,
**Beach & Marina Club,
**Marine Life/Eco-Center,
**Health Clubs and Spas.

The Marina will be a state-of-the-art facility providing boaters with an array of amenities and services including owner’s lounge, outdoor deck, adjacent restaurants and 5-Star concierge service. The Souk will offer everything from traditional Omani souvenirs to the latest designer brands. The Marine Life/Eco Center will focus on the native marine species and ecology of the region and will be an educational, research and resource center.

Three luxury hotels will be located at Salam Yiti:

**300 room 5-Star Jumeirah Beachfront Resort Hotel,
**150 room 5-Star Raffles Luxury Beachfront Hotel & Spa,
**150 room 5-Star Mountain Boutique Hotel.

I really like the way Oman is expanding. The Mega Projects being developed in Oman all work with the natural beauty of the area to create some of the finest residential and tourist destinations in all of The Gulf. More and more investment capital will pour into Oman and we can look forward to seeing many new Mega Projects!

This link takes you to the Salam Yiti website:

http://www.salamyiti.com/en/

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Mega Developers: Omniyat Properties

Omniyat Properties is a privately held real estate investment and development company headquartered in Dubai. Interestingly enough, Omniyat actually grew out of a group of companies called Almasa Holding that specialize in IT hardware and software! Almasa was founded in 1995 by the Dubai based entrepreneur Mehdi Amjad and his Kuwait based partner Esmail Janathi.

Almasa first got started in real estate in 2000 with projects in Iran and the UK. Based on the success they had in these areas -- and the huge expansion taking place in the UAE -- the founding shareholders of Almasa formed Omniyat Properties in 2005. I find the Omniyat Mega Projects to be some of the most unique and advanced seen anywhere in the world.

THE OMNIYAT PROPERTIES MEGA PROJECTS

> The Opus. This commercial tower in Business Bay, which I have already done an in depth post on, has some of the most innovative and "way out there" architecture I have ever seen, and as Omniyat says: "The Opus will change the way you look at commercial towers." In fact, The Opus looks more like a work of modern art than a commercial tower!

> Octavian. Another Business Bay Tower that looks more like a work of art than a building! According to Omniyat: 'Octavian, through inspiration and guidance, is developed by the most forward thinking developer in the region-- Omniyat Properties, whose cutting edge designs have earned unchallenged respect and recognition from the international business community.'

> The Binary. This is a unique "dual storey" development that consists of two (hence the name Binary) commercial towers fused together at the center. The Binary will contain offices as well as retail shops and a medical center.

> One Business Bay. This massive tower is located at the entrance of Business Bay and is in fact Omniyat's maiden project in Dubai. What is really unique about this 30 storey tower is that it expands and gets bigger as it rises in height...so the top is much larger than the bottom!

> Bayswater. This 25 storey commercial tower is located right on the waterfront in Business Bay. Like all of Omniyat's projects, Bayswater incorporates unique architecture-- the tower is scissor shaped!

> The Square. With The Square, Omniyat has created a mixed-use residential, retail and commercial development. The residential complex is made up of 9 low rise buildings. There will also be one building of serviced apartments and another commercial building. The grounds of The Square will contain 6000sqm of gardens and water features.

> The Pad. This 25 storey residential tower is located on the waterfront at Business Bay. The Pad uses a unique type of architecture called "cybertecture" making it the regions most technologically advanced residence. All of the 231 apartments in The Pad will contain the latest smart technology to give residents a feeling of "living in the future." To me The Pad looks like one gigantic computer chip!

> The Gemeni. Made up of two 20 storey towers joined by a 15 storey block, and located in Business Bay, The Gemeni is based on Omniyat's new OYSTER concept of office design. This basically means that the development is one self contained unit with everything from offices to restaurants to retail shops to recreation all under one roof... so...you never have to leave! The OYSTER concept is also used in many other Omniyat projects.

Omniyat Properties is without a doubt one of the greatest innovators in The Gulf. I am really amazed by their fabulous Mega Projects which are some of the most unique and advanced you will find anywhere in the world. Omniyat is going to keep on growing and growing!

Contact:

Omniyat Properties
Burjuman Business Tower
26th Floor
Trade Center Road
P.O. Box 121926
Dubai, UAE
Tel.: +971 4 5115 000
Fax: +971 4 5115 005
Email: info@omniyat.com
Website: http://www.omniyat.com/

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Marina Bay, Reem Island, Abu Dhabi

The "Go Green" revolution is very strong in the UAE right now. Many new Mega Projects are built to be eco-friendly. Marina Bay, being developed by DAMAC Properties and located in the Najmat Abu Dhabi district of Reem Island, is an environmentally friendly and "healthy" 25 storey mixed-use waterfront tower with a combination of retail, office, and residential areas. In my opinion, Reem Island is currently the best location for investment in Abu Dhabi. Enormous amounts of investment capital are being poured into Reem Island and once complete, Reem Island will be the Icon Mega Project of Abu Dhabi!

The ground and mezzanine levels of Marina Bay will be all retail space. Therefore, according to DAMAC: 'If you’re looking for a store that suits your taste or for a gift that’s a class apart, then this is the ideal place. With top-notch and distinct trend setting lifestyles that will captivate you to a wide range of restaurants and caf├ęs from across the globe.'

The offices will be located on the podium level and will be equipped with all the latest features including swipe access, hi-speed internet access, business center, business lounge and 24 hour security cameras. All the higher floors are residential. The residences of Marina Bay include single, double and triple bedroom apartments, duplexes, and penthouses. All residences include smart home technology, camera supervised covered parking facility on three podiums of the tower, and a 24 hour resident's service and concierge service.

Hussain Sajwani, Chairman, DAMAC Holding, had this to say:

"The construction activity in Abu Dhabi is growing rapidly and the landscape is set to witness a significant change in the coming years. Coupled with the current construction boom and expected increase in population to more than double within a decade makes Abu Dhabi an ideal investment opportunity and a great place to live. The launch of Marina Bay in Abu Dhabi further strengthens our presence in the region and especially in Abu Dhabi."

...and Peter Riddoch, CEO of DAMAC Properties, commented:

"Marina Bay is a distinguished lifestyle investment and is located on one of the most admirable master planned developments. The development is designed to enhance the wealth and well-being of people while maximizing water efficiency and using intelligent integrated building management systems."

Additional features of Marina Bay include:

> Grand Reception Area and Guest Lounge,
> Lift Lobby with multiple Smart Elevators,
> Exquisite waterfront views,
> Monitored ventilation and controlled indoor air quality systems,
> Latest water and energy saving technologies,
> Natural lighting and lighting control systems,
> Landscaping designed to blend in with the project,
> Latest telecommunication systems,
> Health Club,
> Spa with steam, sauna and massage,
> Infinity Pool overlooking the waterfront,
> Yoga and Meditation Room,
> Entertainment and Games Room with pool tables, table tennis, foosball, carrom and other indoor sports,
> Children's Playroom,
> Local activities including surfing, biking, golf, scuba diving, and fishing.

I think Marina Bay is a very intelligently designed and well rounded development with a perfect location on the great Reem Island! Marina Bay should be given strong consideration by those seeking a first class place to live in Abu Dhabi, and investors wanting to get involved in Reem Island.

Here is a Marina Bay video from YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snli_1nCheQ

This link takes you to the Marina Bay section of the DAMAC website:

http://www.damacproperties.com/new/main/html-v3/marinabay.asp

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Serrenia, Sahl Hasheesh, Egypt: World's Most Exclusive Waterside Address!

Most people have never heard of Sahl Hasheesh, yet this part of Egypt's Red Sea Coast is being developed to be one of the most exclusive and luxurious destinations on the planet! The $3Billion Mega Project called Serrenia will be the Crown Jewel of Sahl Hasheesh and is being called the most exclusive waterside address in the world by its developer, Vantage Real Estate Development! Designed by world-renowned award-winning architects Foster and Partners, Serrenia will feature some of the most upscale facilities offered anywhere in the world including:

> An outstanding 7-Star Boutique Hotel with dramatic views of the Marina and the Red Sea,
> An 18-hole Championship Golf Course with Clubhouse and Golf Academy,
> A magnificent Spa featuring a spectacular elevated Infinity Pool, a relaxing Passive Spa and an energetic Active Spa,
> A 330 berth Marina with world-class facilities accommodating the largest of Super Yachts,
> A striking Yacht Club with 360 degree views of the Marina,
> Marina Hub Concourse,
> Yacht Charter,
> Private Airstrip,
> Private Jet and Helicopter Charter,
> Luxury Auto Club,
> Beach Club and Diving Club,
> World Chef Club and Private Chef Services,
> Riding Trails,
> Sports Coaching,
> Family Water Park,
> Business Center with Meeting Rooms and Library,
> Casino (you won't find this in the UAE!) and Nightclub,
> Exclusive Boutique Shops and Restaurants,
> Children's Club,
> Extensive landscaped communal gardens, walks and playgrounds,
> 24/7 Concierge Service,
> 24/7 Security-- Serrenia is a 'Gated Community within a Gated Community' and trained security staff are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day!

WOW!!

The hotel will have several speciality restaurants and a casino. The Spa is set in lush botanical gardens, which open onto the ocean as well as to the mountains at the rear. The Spa will offer Infinity and Vitality Pools, Treatment Palaces, a Zen Studio (offering meditation, yoga, personal training, indoor and outdoor relaxation pools) and hair and beauty salons.

Serrenia's Marina Hub will be one of the focal points of the development-- with an extraordinary wave-shaped floating roof and a vast, airy and cool space below. It will feature carefully selected leading brand stores from around the world. It will also include restaurants, a sports center, health center, administration, and several other facilities. In addition, the Marina Hub will be the social center of Serrenia.

Serrenia will offer some of the most opulent residences in the Middle East including:

**The Palaces. Located on their own private island, and accessed via a secure bridge, these 5 properties are the most exclusive in Serrenia,

**Luxurious Villas. These villas are tailor made to your personal specifications, all with their own swimming pools, beautiful water features and lush private gardens,

**Boulevard Maisonette. A group of upscale apartments all built on one boulevard. Each apartment can be individually designed for you by Serrenia's team of experts, calling on globally renowned designers, furnishers and stylists,

**Large Villas, Private Villas and Detached Villas are also available.

I am familiar with all the Mega Projects of Egypt and I have already done posts on Gamsha Bay, CITYSTARS and Hyde Park. Serrenia really sticks out to me as being the next step up in Ultra-Luxury Developments for Egypt. Serrenia, and other projects being developed in Sahl Hasheesh, will become top world destinations for the Rich and Famous!

Here is a Serrenia video from YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4aG0804ZTQ

This link takes you to the Serrenia website:

http://www.serrenia.com/

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

One Million Dollar Vacations! No Flipping At Trump Dubai! Hydra Executives Blowup!

Three very interesting articles from The National and ArabianBusiness.com came to my attention. All relate to previous posts I have done on Emirates Palace, Trump Dubai and The Hydra Executives. I think you will find all this very interesting as well!

>> Apparently Emirates Palace, the Ultra-Ultra Luxury 7-Star Hotel in Abu Dhabi has come up with the most expensive holiday you can take. It costs ONE MILLION DOLLARS.... for ONE WEEK!! According to The National:

'The all-inclusive, $145,000-a-day getaway package for two includes gifts of guns and jewelry and day trips to Jordan, Bahrain and Iran. It is the brainchild of Karim Sehry Fassy, the director of marketing at the Emirates Palace.

'The package includes the hotel’s finest suite, first-class air tickets, a full-time Maybach luxury saloon with driver, daily spa treatments, day trips by private jet to Iran to witness the creation of a unique Persian carpet, to Jordan for a spa treatment with Dead Sea mud and to Bahrain for a deep-sea pearl dive. The pearl will be set in a custom-made piece of jewelry.'

Gavin Samson, the director of Tri-Hospitality consulting, a company based in London and Dubai, said:

"Nothing surprises me any more at all in this market. I’m surprised that this is in Abu Dhabi and not in Dubai. That’s where the publicity and the headlines are hit with these ridiculous announcements."

WOW! A $1,000,000 holiday! I wonder who will be the first to take this vacation for the Super Rich??

Source:

http://www.thenational.ae/

>> Nakheel will not allow properties bought at Trump International Hotel & Tower Dubai (Trump Dubai) to be flipped. If you purchase a unit at Trump Dubai YOU MUST HOLD IT FOR AT LEAST 1 YEAR before you can sell it! According to ArabianBusiness.com:

'Investors at the recently-launched Trump International Hotel & Tower on Palm Jumeirah had to sign a purchase sale agreement banning them from on-selling the property for one year.'

"Nakheel introduced the restriction of re-sell for residential units purchased at which cannot be sold within the first year of purchase. Nakheel is committed in providing the market with a fair and transparent sales process, which maximize the buying opportunities for customers wishing to purchase a property from Nakheel," said a Nakheel spokesperson.

Still, I don't think this is a big problem for those wanting to invest in Trump Dubai because I think the project will be a long term winner.

Source:

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/

>> Security guards had to be called in during the season two shooting of the popular UAE reality TV show, The Hydra Executives. In season one, teams from the USA and the UK were pitted against one another. However in season two, teams from India and Pakistan go up against each other. And this is where the fireworks began! According to ArabianBusiness.com:

'Security staff are being deployed to separate angry Indian and Pakistani contestants during filming of the second series of The Hydra Executives, Arabian Business can reveal. Sources close to the show revealed on Tuesday that tempers boiled over between the teams during filming of the episode two of the second series in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

'It is believed that “serious” arguments broke out after the first episode ended. “Things got very heated with a lot of name calling and shouting between the Indian and Pakistani teams. It became quite scary and we have had to look at security issues on the show as a result,” says a source.

'Another source added: “We knew that there would be friction in the room if we put together teams from India and Pakistan but nobody thought it would get this serious. It's fair to say the teams aren’t getting on with each other ."

With the show's winner getting $1,000,000... and no love lost between India and Pakistan, I can see how this could happen. This should really be a great season for The Hydra Executives with this kind of blowup happening so early in the show!

Source:

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Opus, Dubai: Is It A Mega Project Or A Work Of Art?

The Opus is both!! This iconic building being developed by Omniyat Properties of Dubai is BOTH a Mega Project AND a work of art! The Opus will be located in Business Bay, the vibrant Dubai Business District designed to emerge as the business capital of The Gulf. Business Bay is the perfect location for a regional or international headquarters for multinational and local corporations...and it is also perfect to be the home of one of the most stunning buildings on earth-- The Opus!

Designed by the award winning architect Zaha Hadid, The Opus will change the way we view commercial towers. No longer are they just buildings, now they are genuine works of modern art! The Opus, which is located on its own island site at Business Bay, is uniquely designed to give the impression of a glowing cube hovering in space over the ground. While it appears as a one single unit, The Opus is in fact three towers amalgamated creatively to give a perception of a singular unified whole. Every time I look at The Opus it reminds me of a modern piece of sculpture!

One of the most unique features of The Opus is The Void. This distinctive feature of the property is a large curving free form space in the center of the building. The Void is the one feature above all others that makes The Opus look like a piece of modern art. The interior of The Void is clad with a fully engineered curved glass curtain wall system to allow for stunning views into and out of The Void.

Interiors of The Opus are designed to maximize worker efficiency, and the views from within the building offer maximum natural light for the office spaces. Great attention to detail has gone into all facets of the project. Zaha Hadid had this to say:

"This is a building that challenges traditional concepts of office space. Not only will it be visually stunning, it will also be a workable space, and a place that allows every occupant to experience a better quality working environment, using the very latest technological advances. The Opus is a striking, fluid spatial building that refutes traditional definitions of office functionality. All facets of the project have been meticulously designed to provide optimal use of the space, with materials sourced to provide durability, efficiency, operation and maintenance whilst reducing noise to sustain privacy."

The uppermost floor of The Opus will feature all the relaxing and innovative features of Omniyat Properties’ OYSTER concept including a Tranquillity Zone, a beach deck with reflective pool and shaded roof terrace, a media zone and a gym. OYSTER is an acronym for Offices Yielding Superior Targets Through Efficiency and Relaxation. Buildings based on this concept are self contained and produce excellent results, just like an oyster, which is self-contained within its shell and produces the pearl. I think this concept is spot on and should be used in the design of all office buildings!

More features of The Opus that have been created to benefit those who work there include an elaborate retail podium across the lobby and first, second and third gallery. Everything from stores of all kinds to fine dining restaurants and cafes will be available.

"The Opus project combines art and performance with form and functionality. The strategic location, stunning exterior and the extensive range of facilities make The Opus project a strategic buy for potential investors who can expect considerable returns on their investment," said Mehdi Amjad, President and CEO of Omniyat Properties.

When you work at The Opus you will actually be working inside a piece of modern art! I think this is great and fits in perfectly with all the innovative Mega Projects being developed in Dubai and throughout The Gulf!

Here is a YouTube video of The Opus:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8BiIWnConew

This link takes you to The Opus website:

http://www.opus-dubai.com/index.php?id=476&L=0

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