Sunday, December 13, 2009

Will Nakheel Survive?

I never thought I would be writing a post with this title but times have changed...in a BIG way. One of the largest and greatest real estate developers in world history, and my favorite Gulf developer, Nakheel, is in trouble. Big trouble! The following, taken from an article at Zawya.com entitled 'Creditors face reality of a bare cupboard' sums up Nakheel's woes:

Referring to Nakheel the article states--

'The prickling of the real estate bubble has put the company (Nakheel) under severe financial distress throughout the year, forcing it to make fire sales and slash staff to keep its head above water. Some buildings in low income projects, Discovery Gardens and International City have been sold to other parts of the Dubai Government, according to CB Richard Ellis, a real estate service provider.

'The company has land available for sale but there are still few takers given Dubai's property supply glut. And much of the company's undeveloped land is part of the projects that have taken down-payments from customers, so is a liability. "Elsewhere there isn't much left in the cupboard," says Nicholas Mclean, regional managing director of CB Richard Ellis.

'Cash flow has dried to a trickle, with the company's incoming cash flow barely enough to cover salaries and electricity bills, say two former employees.

'Contractors are owed as much as Dh11bn, the former employees say, even after some suppliers decided to take 75 cents on the dollar earlier this year as the government disbursed bail-out funds to the developer. "I was told 'take the haircut and sign non-disclosure forms, or go to the back of the queue'," said one consultant. "Luckily I took the money."

'Nakheel has also been encouraging customers on projects far away from completion to shift to developments that are finished or approaching handover. Buyers of expensive villas on the Palm Jebel Ali, which was to be the developer's second luxurious Palm Island, and is now permanently delayed, are being offered studio flats in lesser developments as compensation.'

Now you can see just how bad things have gotten for Nakheel. And there is more. Nakheel's gigantic Dubai Waterfront project, which was to be twice the size of Hong Kong, looks like it will not even be a fraction of the original planned size, if it ever gets developed at all. Furthermore, the third Palm Island, Palm Deira, justs sits there with no development taking place. In my opinion it will take at least 10 to 15 years before Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira are ever developed, and it is even possible that they will never be developed.

Dubai has been hit with one of the worst real estate disasters that I have ever seen. As of this writing the residential real estate market in Dubai, which has already fallen about 50%, continues to fall faster than any other location on the planet. In addition, 40% of Dubai office space is empty. And Dubai is building MORE residential units and MORE office space!

I hope Nakheel is able to survive in some form. They have built some of the most iconic and spectacular Mega Projects in world history. Projects that have put Dubai on the front page all over the world. A company this great should never be allowed to go under!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Whatever Happened To Ajman??

Do you remember during the good "old" days of the UAE real estate boom the emirate of Ajman was exploding with new real estate development and investment? Ajman was being called "Dubai Jr." and "The Next Dubai." Spectacular Mega Projects were springing up all over Ajman. What a difference a year makes! These days Ajman is seldom even mentioned and the Mega Projects being developed there have run into all kinds of problems.

Let's take a look at some of the Ajman Mega Projects and see what has become of them.

> Al Zorah. This was one of the last and greatest Ajman Mega Projects announced before the markets started to crash. Al Zorah was planned as a giant $60 Billion mixed use project to be developed by the Ajman Government and Lebanon master developer Solidere. Today the project has been radically downsized and only parts of the project closest to the sea will be built.

> Marmooka City. Another massive Mega Project, Marmooka City was originally planned to have over 206 towers, malls, 5-Star hotel, medical centers, educational facilities, parks, gardens, etc. The project has been cut way down in size to only 20 buildings in all. What had been slated as a master planned city will likely end up little more than a small development.

> Awali City. This $5.4 Billion Mega Project being developed by Awali Real Estate Investments was to have 15 state-of-the-art residential and commercial towers. Now Awali has announced that the project will be re-sized by up to half its original size, this largely due to investors in the project no longer making payments.

> Humaid City. Another huge multi-tower project (exact number of towers not known) being developed by multiple developers. This entire project has evolved into pure chaos and most investors have pulled out. In my opinion it will be a miracle if anything ever comes of Humaid City.

> Berjal City. This $4.1 Billion project is a collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Saudi company Berjal Real Estate and Al Rashid Real Estate of Ajman are the two developers of Berjal City. The project is still in concept stage and it is questionable if it will ever actually get built.

> Emirates City. One of the first Ajman residential and commercial mixed use Mega Projects, Emirates City has undergone quite a bit of development, however due to the world economic melt-down construction has been greatly slowed. Many projects have been put on hold. It looks like a skeleton city with partially finished buildings everywhere.

> Ajman Marina. The most spectacular of all the Ajman Mega Projects, Ajman Marina was to be an ultra-luxury mixed use Mega Project being developed by Saudi developer Tanmiyat. Construction has been halted but Tanmiyat has stated they will start up again in 2010. We shall see.

Now you can see just how hard Ajman has been hit. The negative world economy is not the only reason for the Ajman real estate bust. In October 2008 the Government of Ajman stopped issuance and renewal of investors' visas for freehold property owners in Ajman. This makes no sense to me and combined with the current state of the world economy has crushed the Ajman real estate market.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dubai City Tower: Greatest Mega Project That May Never Be Built

Dubai City Tower, which was being planned by Meraas Development of Dubai as part of their Jumeirah Gardens project, has been put on hold for now but if they ever do get this tower built it will be the greatest Mega Project ever developed. The tower, at 1.5 miles in height, would be over 3 times the height of Burj Dubai! It would be so massive that it would contain an entire city within its structure... a Vertical City!

The following is from the designers of Dubai City Tower:

'Our design for the Dubai City Tower is 400 habitable stories high topped by a 400m tall energy producing spire. Each floor to floor height is 5m making the overall height of the building 2400m (1.5miles). We are proposing that the tower be sited along the Gulf sea where part of the building could push into the ocean creating a marina and destination for cruise ships and tourism. The overall mass of the tower is broken down into 6 independent buildings, three rotating clockwise and three counter-clockwise about a central core. Sixty-five percent of the total building floor area is located in the first 100 stories maximizing leasing potential while easing the strain of servicing a 400 story tower. A six story base sits at the foot of the tower housing a convention center, retail, event space and parking. Two stories of VIP self parking exists above ground and fifteen stories of robotic parking are housed below ground. The overall tower is organized into four 100 story "neighborhoods" connected via a vertical bullet train that quickly distributes people between sky plazas that separate the different vertical neighborhoods.

'The sky plaza becomes a new town center at every 100 stories filled with the character of a city offering a diversity of experiences from shopping to leisure. Functionally, zones act to separate building and transportation systems into smaller more manageable units more typical to the design constraints of today. Here the vertical bullet train delivers passengers / tenants every 10 minutes. From this hub people then switch to more standard elevators to be distributed to their offices, hotels or homes. VIP helicopter pads are also located at each of the plaza levels allowing for quicker and more discreet access.

'The lower levels of each sky plaza serve to separate the tower's building system between neighborhoods. Each 100 story block serves as an independent unit with separate plumbing, electric and waste system all linked through a central core. Here chilled water created by thermal exchange and electricity created by strategically placed photovoltaic cells and turbines located in the spire are captured and delivered to occupants of the building. In addition, water purification and trash composing take place within this zone in a biosphere like garden that becomes a vertical park for recreation, oxygen creation and natural relief. Every effort has been made to make each neighborhood as self reliant as possible. Wind energy generated by turbines located in the spire combined with photovoltaic cells strategically laminated into each building's skin offset the tower's draw from the local power grid. Recycling efforts at each 100 story sky plaza and integrated desalination plants reduce the tower's impact on the surrounding infrastructure ushering in a new era of smart building design sensitive to both the building's occupants and the tower's local environment.

'The Dubai City Tower pushes every edge of building design. For centuries man has pushed construction towards the heavens. The sheer scale of the project will focus the world's eye towards the city of Dubai and it will be the tower's design and image that will preserve Dubai City Tower's grandeur into the future.'

Wow!! The designers of this Mega Project really thought BIG! However with the real estate market the way it is in Dubai I think it will be a miracle if Dubai City Tower ever gets built.

The following link takes you to the Meraas Development website:


This link takes you to a few artistic renditions of Dubai City Tower:


Saturday, September 5, 2009

50 Richest Saudis

Here is a great new list compiled by ArabianBusiness.com of the 50 Richest Saudis in the world. Needless to say that many on this list are involved in Mega Project development and investment throughout the Middle East and all over the planet.

1. HRH Prince Alwaleed $16.3 Billion
2. Mohammad Al Amoudi $8.8 Billion
3. Sheikh Mohamef Bin Issa Al Jabar $8.5 Billion
4. Nasser Al Rashid $8 Billion
5. The Bin Laden Family $7 Billion
6. The Olayan Family $6.9 Billion
7. Sulaiman Al Rajhi $5.2 Billion
8. Issam Al Zahid $5.1 Billion
9. Mohamed Abdul Latif Jameel $5 Billion
10. Saleh Kamel $4.9 Billion
11. Mubarak Al Suwaiket $4.8 Billion
12. Saad Hariri $4.3 Billion
13. Al Zamil Family $3.5 Billion
14. Sulaiman Al Muhaidib $3.4 Billion
15. Osama Ismail Ali Abudawood $3.1 Billion
16. The Bin Mahfouz Family $3 Billion
17. Sheikh Walid Al Ibrahim $2.9 Billion
18. Abdulkader Bakri $2.8 Billion
19. Saleh Al Rajhi $2.8 Billion
20. Abdullah Al Rajhi $2.6 Billion
21. Mohammed Al Issa $2.5 Billion
22. Ayman Hariri $2.4 Billion
23. Ali Hussein Alireza $2.4 Billion
24. Bahaa Hariri $2.3 Billion
25. Abdullah Saad Al Rashid $2.3 Billion
26. Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Jomaih $2.1 Billion
27. Abdul Rahman Saad Al Rashid $2 Billion
28. Mohammad Kamal Jamjoom $1.9 Billion
29. Abdul Moshen Bin Abdul Azia Al Hokair $1.8 Billion
30. Fawaz Al Hokair $1.7 Billion
31. Al Saad Basamh $1.6 Billion
32. Adel Aujan $1.4 Billion
33. Al Naghi Family $1.2 Billion
34. Mahmood Saeed $1.1 Billion
35. Adnan Khashoggi $1.1 Billion
36. Al Juffali Family $1.1 Billion
37. Mohammed Al Rajhi $1 Billion
38. El Shalash Family $900 Million
39. Ibrahim Hamad Al Babtain $800 Million
40. Ajlan Bin Abdulaziz Ajlan $760 Million
41. Abdullah Bin Saleh Al Othaim $750 Million
42. Adel Mohammas Hamad Al Mojil $650 Million
43. Muhammad Al Agil $600 Million
44. Ahmed Zaki Yamani $550 Million
45. Al Subeaei Family $500 Million
46. Omar Suleiman Al Abdullatif $450 Million
47. Ahmad Hasan Fitaihi $400 Million
48. Abdul Aziz Al Jasser $400 Million
49. Mohammad Al Ali Al Abdullatif $380 Million
50. Khaled Baeshen $350 Million

Here is the link to the ArabianBusiness.com article:


Friday, August 7, 2009

Dubai Marina Madness!

Dubai Marina is one of my favorite UAE Mega Projects and my number one pick for Dubai's Residential Mega Projects. Despite all of this the Dubai Marina is having a lot of problems right now with the delivery of many of its high-rise towers. This is unfortunate for Dubai as well as the many people who invested in these towers pre-construction. An excellent article from TheNational.ae entitled 'Dubai Marina's High-Rise Dreams Deferred' goes into more detail. Here are some excerpts from the article:

Harvans Nagpal and his wife once dreamed of a relaxing retirement in Dubai, enjoying leisurely days beside a sun-drenched swimming pool and unbeatable views from a beautiful, brand new serviced high-rise apartment overlooking the city's glamorous Marina.

Now the 70 year old London accountant's plans are on hold dogged by uncertainty brought by delays in the building of the apartment and the prospect of its cost rising beyond his means

People like Mr. Nagpal are statistics in the real estate bust, as projects throughout the UAE, especially in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, have been delayed, slowed down or become insolvent. Today, many of those investors are grappling with the fallout as projects, especially those by smaller developers, languish in crisis.

Mr. Nagpal bought off-plan in late 2007, paying a 25 percent down payment on a Dh1 million (US$272,000) one bedroom apartment in the 19-floor Harbour Residences. He was told that his apartment would be ready by early 2010, with his first Dh250,000 already paid into the development's escrow account. The strikingly designed tower remains little more than an artist's impression and a hole in the ground.

Harbour Residences is a development by Dheeraj & East Coast, a joint venture between Dheeraj Constructions of India and East Coast LLC of Dubai. The most recent construction update on the company's website, posted in March, shows a bare pit.

A survey by The National found at least nine idle sites where work has not progressed above ground; furthermore, the Marina is home to a number of partially built buildings on which work appears to have slowed or halted.

It is a similar story for countless other investors in properties around the Marina. Close to the most northerly of the road bridges across the Marina are two massive craters, both without signs of activity other than security guards sitting in chairs at the entrances to the sites. One plot is littered with rubbish, but no information is displayed. A hoarding on the other says it is the intended home of My Tower, a 36-storey building first advertised in 2007.

On some sites, progress has been halted, with skeletal foundations left exposed to the atmosphere. On others, work even appears to have gone backwards. Shahla Tower, a planned 39-storey residence, occupies a prime site by the water. The new Marina Mall is a five minute walk across the road bridge that runs alongside the plot, the beach and the seaside shops and restaurants of The Walk are even closer. Launched in 2006, the tower was due for completion by mid-2008. Yet, for months now, the only sign of activity at the site has been the drone of generators driving water pumps 24 hours a day to keep the half finished foundations dry. The status of the project has yet to be categorized by RERA.

Another site echoing only the sound of generators is that of the Eden Blue Tower, a pit of protruding metal foundations that has seen little activity for six months except for the pumping of water. Nearby, more pumps, and little else, are at work on the foundations of the Dubai Marina Star development, a project initiated by Al Seef Investments, a Dubai investment company, and since taken over by the UK Capital Investments Group (UKCIG).

++ Here is the link to the complete article from TheNational.ae


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Business Bay Continues To Expand With The Citadel

Despite the world economic melt-down Business Bay Dubai continues to expand! The latest addition to the completed towers at Business Bay is Deyaar Development's spectacular Citadel. The following is a press release with all the details:

Dubai, July 15, 2009: Fulfilling its commitment to hand over seven projects in 2009, Deyaar Development, a regional real estate company dedicated to innovation, customer care and long-term sustainable growth, today announced that it will hand over in August all units at The Citadel, its premium 41-storey commercial tower located in the Business Bay master development.

The Citadel comprises 565,000 square feet of office space, including 406 state of the art contemporary commercial units and 29,000 square feet of retail. The project is strategically located within minutes of Sheikh Zayed Road, the upcoming airport in Jebel Ali, and all major shopping malls and business clusters in Dubai. The Citadel is one of the first projects to be delivered in the Business Bay master development.

"With the hand over of The Citadel, Deyaar Development will have successfully fulfilled its hand over commitments for 2009," said Markus Giebel, Chief Executive of Deyaar.

"At Deyaar Development Company we have consistently set high benchmarks of quality and value in our projects, and The Citadel is no different. As one of the largest developers in Business Bay, Deyaar Development Company's projects occupy a place of prominence within this master development. We are confident that the design and quality of The Citadel will prove to be extremely beneficial to all businesses and commercial establishments operating from the tower," said Giebel.

Deyaar will also host an orientation program for all customers on July 18, 2009 at 11:00am ahead of the final delivery. The orientation program will be used to update customers with the final documentation procedure for their respective units to discuss the building operating budget and facilities management contract. Additionally, an explanation of the building systems, amenities and personnel will also be provided.

The Citadel is the latest in the line of high quality projects completed and delivered by Deyaar in the past few years. Facilities at the project include 24-hour security and ample parking space, among others.

I think this is great progress for Business Bay and for Dubai overall. It shows the world that despite hard financial times Dubai will continue to expand to become a leading world business hub. Master developments like Business Bay and Dubai International Financial Centre will make Dubai the primary business center of the Middle East.

This link takes you to the Deyaar website:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sovereign Wealth Funds Of The Gulf: Dubai Holding

Dubai Holding, like Dubai World which I have already covered in a previous post, is a division of the gigantic Dubai sovereign wealth fund, The Investment Corporation of Dubai. The company has over 32,000 employees, and offices all over the world. From Dubai Holding:

'Dubai Holding was created in 2004 to consolidate and lead Dubai's large-scale infrastructure and investment projects. We are committed to improving every aspect of life in the region by investing in life-improving industries.

'Our achievements have helped build the success and prosperity of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the surrounding region. This includes the creation of a world-class commercial and physical infrastructure that attracts multinational companies from around the globe, and our work with the Government of Dubai to promote Dubai as a role model and catalyst for the region’s economic and social development.'

Dubai Holding has companies in 13 different industries:

1. Hospitality
2. Technology
3. Communication
4. Education
5. Finance
6. Real Estate
7. Healthcare
8. Leisure & Entertainment
9. Industrial Manufacturing
10. Biotechnology
11. Energy
12. Telecommunication
13. Aerospace

Dubai Holding consists of 7 member companies that own, manage and run more than 250 businesses involved in the above 13 Industries. I will now cover each of these 7 member companies and list some of the major businesses owned by each company.


The Jumeirah Group handles Dubai Holding’s renowned luxury hotels and resorts. They aim to become the international hospitality industry leader through a world-class property portfolio. The Jumeirah Group portfolio includes:

> Burj Al Arab, > Jumeirah Beach Hotel, > Madinat Jumeirah, > Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, > Jumeirah Carlton Tower, > Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, > Jumeirah Essex House.


TECOM Investments is working to build the knowledge economy in Dubai by providing and running free trade zones that support the development of knowledge-based industries. The TECOM portfolio includes:

> Dubai Internet City, > Dubai Media City, > Dubai Knowledge Village, > Dubai International Academic City, > Dubai Outsource Zone, > Dubai Studio City, > International Media Production Zone, > Enpark, > DuBiotech, > Empower, > Smart City, > eHosting Data Fort.


Dubai Group is Dubai Holding’s leading diversified financial services company, focusing on banking, investments and insurance both regionally and globally. The Dubai Group portfolio includes:

> Dubai Investment Group, > Dubai Capital Group, > Dubai Financial Group, > Dubai Banking Group, > Dubai Insurance Group, > Noor Investment Group.


Dubai Properties Group is Dubai Holding’s pioneering community developer. It offers integrated and holistic services in real estate, retail, hospitality and lifestyle management. The Dubai Properties portfolio includes:

> Dubai Properties, > Salwan, > Injaz, > Dubai Asset Management, > Dubai Retail, > Dubai Hospitality.


Tatweer owns and manages a strategic group of companies for Dubai Holding. These cover real estate, hospitality, energy, healthcare, education, leisure and entertainment. The Tatweer portfolio includes:

> Dubailand, > Bawadi, > The Tiger Woods Dubai, > Universal Studios Dubailand, > Dubai Healthcare City, > Global Village, > DreamWorks Dubailand, > Six Flags Dubailand, > Dubai Industrial City, > Dubai Merchantile Exchange, > Mizin, > Dubai Energy.


Sama Dubai is the international real estate arm of Dubai Holding. Sama creates and invests in development projects around the world. The Sama Dubai portfolio includes:

> Dubai Towers, Dubai, > Dubai Towers, Qatar, > The Lagoons, > Salam, > Amwaj Morocco, > Mediterranean Gate, > Smart City.


Dubai International Capital is a Dubai-based international investment company with a primary focus on private and public equity. The Dubai International Capital (DIC) portfolio includes:

> DIC Private Equity, > DIC Global Equities, > DIC Emerging Markets, > DIC Asset Management.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Mega Developers: Barwa

Barwa is one of Qatar's largest Mega Developers. Barwa was created in 2005 by the government owned Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company to develop projects in the Middle East and abroad. According to Barwa:

'We see ourselves ‘builders’ in Qatar’s emergence as a vibrant investment for the global community. Our work covers a wide array of real estate business related functions. Barwa manages, operates, leases and rents projects owned by us and by other partners, both locally and internationally. We also manage real estate portfolios and funds. Our work has earned us the accolade of being known as a master developer and planner who is committed to creating lasting legacies.'

Barwa underwent an IPO on the Doha Securities Market in 2006 that raised $330 million for 55% of the company's equity. Barwa is run by Ghanim Bin Saad Al Saad, Chairman, Managing Director & CEO, and Tamer Khader, CFO. In a short period of time the company has created one of the most impressive real estate portfolios I have seen, and become one of the top 20 developers in The Gulf.


> Barwa U Street / Qatar
> Somerset West Bay Residence / Qatar
> Shaza Hotels and Spa Resort / North Africa
> Shard of Glass Tower / United Kingdom
> Somerset Al Fateh Juffair / Bahrain
> Somerset Corniche / Qatar
> Ajman Corniche Residence / UAE
> Al Mizab Project / Saudi Arabia
> Aspire Zone / Qatar
> Barwa Al Doha / Qatar
> Barwa Al Khor/ Qatar
> Barwa Ain Khalid Commercial Avenue / Qatar
> Barwa Al Dhahiya / Qatar
> Barwa Al Sharq / Qatar
> Barwa Al Sinya / Qatar
> Barwa Business Center / Qatar
> Barwa Financial Street / Qatar
> Barwa Financial District / Qatar
> Barwa Interim Doha Convention Center Capital / Qatar
> Labor Camp / Qatar
> Langham Building / United States
> Monaco Project / France
> Paris Convention Center / France
> Parking Yard and Laborer's City / Qatar
> Qatamiyah Residential City / Egypt
> Royal Monceau Hotel / France
> Royal Savoy Hotel Renovation / Switzerland
> Schweizerhof Hotel Renovation / Switzerland
> Somerset Tower / Qatar
> Touristic Resort / Croatia


Building 39, 3rd Floor
Al Saad Street
New Merqab Area
P.O. Box 27777
Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974 499-8888
Fax: +974 499-8887
Email: info@barwa.com.qa
Website: www.barwa.com.qa

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Favorite Investments In The Gulf

With prices on many of the great Gulf Mega Projects coming way down due to the current world financial crisis I think it is time to look at some of the best opportunities for investment. This list is by no means complete. There are many great projects not mentioned here. What I am giving you are the projects I consider to be the "Best Of The Best."

Please understand that just because I like these projects does not mean that they will increase in value or that you should invest in them. Nobody can perfectly predict the future. Ultimately you must do your own research to decide which projects you feel are the best investments.


> Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). This is my number one pick for a great Dubai investment. Above all else Dubai is positioning itself to become the financial center of the Middle East and a top worldwide financial hub. And DIFC is Dubai's center of finance. This mega project, unlike Business Bay, is already successfully functioning and has been since '04. DIFC is a huge project that will continue to expand. I would concentrate on office space rather than the residential projects in DIFC since Dubai is overbuilt with residential units in my opinion.

-- Right now I would be avoiding any residential investing in Dubai because, as I said, I think they have overbuilt in this area. I would also stay away from Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira as I have serious doubts if they will ever be fully developed. I would also be cautious about Dubailand projects as there are strong doubts if Dubailand will ever get fully developed.


> Reem Island. This massive island Mega Project is being developed to eventually become the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi. Over 100 towers will be built on Reem Island which will one day be home to 250,000 residents as well as numerous businesses and resorts. Huge amounts of capital have been pouring into Reem Island and the Abu Dhabi government will add any required funding where needed during the current financial slowdown.


> Ajman Marina. I think this is going to be the "Crown Jewel" project of this rapidly growing Emirate. Ajman Marina has been designed to become a mixed-use project focused on business, tourism, residential and commercial components. It covers everything. Advantages of the project include: --Strategic one-of-a-kind location in Ajman Waterfront Marina, --Investment opportunity to all nationalities with desirable Free Hold status, --All businesses given Free Zone regulations in which to operate, --Located near both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, --Yacht Clubs, malls, gardens, many high-end themed cafés and restaurants, --Educational areas, etc. I think Ajman Marina will be Ajman's most desirable project.


> Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH). Bahrain has many fine Mega Projects being built but my favorite by far is BFH. This is because BFH is the financial center of the very wealthy Kingdom of Bahrain as well as a leading Middle East business center. In fact, BFH could eventually become a leading world business hub just like DIFC. Think of BFH as Bahrain's version of DIFC. And as with DIFC, I would invest in office space here too.


> Pearl Qatar. The Pearl Qatar is Qatar's largest and most spectacular Mega Project. It is being designed to be the "Riviera of Arabia" and will be the most exclusive and desirable location in Qatar. It should be noted that Qatar's economy has not suffered at all throughout the world financial melt-down and in fact Qatar continues to grow. Investment in the Pearl Qatar is an excellent way to share in the prosperity of Qatar.


> Entaj Industrial Valley. Saudi Arabia is expanding rapidly and Entaj is set to become the Middle East's answer to America's Silicon Valley. Entaj will be part of King Abdullah Economic City, the largest real estate project ever developed. Entaj will focus on 7 different industry types: High Tech, Research and Development, General Industry, Logistics, Light Industrial Units, Construction, and Showroom / Retail Outlets. Office and industrial space could be a great investment at Entaj.

I have covered each of these projects in more detail in previous posts.

Two things to remember:

-- We are currently in one of the worst worldwide financial melt-downs in history and therefore prices of these projects will probably continue to fall. Thus you should wait for prices to come down even more before investing.

-- I think you will make more investing in office/commercial/industrial space rather than residential units.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Crash! Part 2: The Effects

Today I will go into detail about the effect the real estate crash in the UAE has had on Mega Project development. I have created a list of UAE Project Cancellations and Put-On-Holds. By looking over this list you will see all of the great Mega Projects that have either been cancelled altogether or put on hold until things get better. Many of the put on hold projects will ultimately end up being cancelled.

A note on accuracy. I have tried to be as accurate as possible with this list. However sometimes a project(s) is announced as put-on-hold or cancelled and then another source will say something else to the effect that the project(s) is going ahead as planned. Therefore I cannot guarantee that this list is 100% accurate, but I do think it is the most accurate and complete list available. Therefore if you know for a fact that any of the listed projects are going ahead as planned send me an email to let me know and I will make the correction on the list. Also, if you know of any cancelled or put-on-hold projects that I have missed you can also email me and I will add them to the list.


-- Nakheel Harbour and Tower
-- Al Salam City
-- Dubai Towers
-- Palm Deira
-- Asia-Asia Hotel
-- Dolphin City
-- The Universe
-- Nad El Sheba Racecourse
-- Mina Rashid Redevelopment
-- Aqua Dunya Dubailand Phase 1 & 2
-- Investment Corporation of Dubai
-- High Rise Boulevard
-- Anara
-- London Crown Tower
-- Oqyana
-- Coral Island Resort
-- Remraam Dubailand
-- Maysan Towers Dubailand
-- Plaza Mayor Jumeirah Village
-- Falcon City of Wonders Dubailand
-- Arabian Legands Dubailand
-- Sunny Mountain Skidome Dubailand
-- Tijara Town Dubailand
-- Metro Tower Dubailand
-- Wadi Tower Dubailand
-- Women's World Dubailand
-- FreeJ Theme Park Dubailand
-- Sanali Tower Dubailand
-- Durar Residential Complex
-- Atrium Project
-- Busch Gardens Theme Parks Palm Jebel Ali
-- Palm Trump Hotel & Tower
-- The Vantage
-- Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al Attar Tower
-- Lam Tara Twin Towers
-- Dubai Waterfront Light Rail & Tramway
-- Rotating Tower
-- Tiara United Towers
-- Dubai Exhibition City
-- Jumeirah Hills
-- Esplanade
-- Musrif Heights
-- Botanica Tower
-- Marina Star
-- Cactus Theme
-- Lagoon Club Hotel & Residences
-- Signature Tower Business Bay
-- Emivest Towers
-- Desert Gate Hotels & Towers
-- X2 Towers
-- Ain Al-Fayda
-- Sharjah Sports City
-- Tatweer Towers
-- Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2
-- Forbidden City
-- Porsche Design Towers Business Bay
-- Sienna Square
-- Seagull Tower
-- Image Residences
-- Canal Point
-- Sea Scape Tower
-- Ice Tower Dubai Marina
-- Water's Edge Business Bay
-- Mina Rashid Mixed Use Tower
-- West End Towers 1 & 2 Jumeirah Village
-- Burjside Boulevard Business Bay
-- Dolphin Towers
-- West Bay Tower Business Bay
-- Al Odaid Palm Tower
-- Haz Tower Business Bay
-- Nadra Tower Business Bay
-- Platinum Towers Business Bay
-- Burj Al Alam Business Bay
-- B2B Tower Business Bay
-- The Court Business Bay
-- Bristol Towers Business Bay
-- Palm Island Hotel Resort
-- Goldcrest Dreams
-- Green Park Jumeirah Village

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is This Dubai World's Worst Investment?

Dubai World is one of Dubai's huge Sovereign Wealth Funds responsible for investing in companies that it feels will increase in value over time and thus benefit Dubai. Well I think I have found their WORST investment. Back in August of 2007 Dubai World and Mega Casino Operator MGM Mirage became partners when Dubai World agreed to pay $4.3 Billion for half of the gigantic CityCenter Complex Mega Project being built in Las Vegas (note: some sources say Dubai World paid $2.7 Billion). Dubai World also agreed to purchase $2.4 Billion in MGM stock.

Bad move! In August 2007 MGM Mirage stock was trading at around $75.00 a share. Today, March 23, 2009, MGM Mirage stock closed at $3.11 a share!! This is about a loss of 95% of the investment in a little over a year and a half.

That's not all. Dubai World, through its subsidiary Infinity World, is taking legal action against MGM MIRAGE because MGM has said it is so strapped for cash that it may not be able to complete CityCenter Complex... which Dubai World paid $4.3 Billion for a 50% share!! WOW!

Here is an article from TheNational.ae with details about the lawsuit:

Infinity Takes MGM to Court Over Vegas Project

Infinity World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, says it has taken legal action against MGM Mirage after the company allegedly committed a "breach" of its joint venture agreement to build a major project on the Las Vegas strip.

The company is asking a Delaware court to relieve it of any obligations under the agreement after MGM stated in its financial filings on March 17 that "there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern." MGM also said it "cannot provide assurance" that it could generate enough cash flow to pay for its share of the project.

The two companies had agreed to build a 31-hectare project in Las Vegas called CityCenter, which is described as the largest casino project in history. The US$8.6 billion (Dh31.58bn) project includes plans for several casinos, hotels, a retail strip and other office and residential buildings. Infinity World contributed $4.3bn to the project and owns 50 per cent of it, Dubai World said.

"The current path of the project is simply unsustainable given our partner’s financial troubles," Dubai World said today, adding that it had been left with "no other option but to act to protect its investment and the future of CityCenter."

Dubai World also alleged that MGM had "mismanaged" CityCenter, causing higher costs despite reducing the scope of the project.

An MGM spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment, but the firm’s chief executive, Jim Murren, told investors last week that he believed the company would succeed despite the challenges it faced. The company was granted a waiver by its lenders until May 15 to restructure at least $7bn of $13.5bn in long-term debt. "I have no illusions that this is going to be easy," he said, according to the Associated Press. "I do not at all harbour any ill feelings towards people who think we will fail, because this is not without risk. But I wake up thinking that we’re going to make progress every day."

The company is being hit by a combination of lower land and property values, less gambling, and declining room rates during the worst US recession in decades.
Indications that MGM was having difficulty with the CityCenter project first emerged in January, when local inspectors found faults in the construction quality of some of the buildings. The company modified parts of the project to cut costs, but it still needs about $1.2bn to finish the project.

Dubai World said it was working with lenders and MGM to ensure the project could still be completed by its deadline of late this year.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


There is no bigger fan of Dubai than myself. In the last 7 years Dubai has truly accomplished the amazing. Through Dubai's Grand Vision the Emirate has created some of the most iconic and spectacular architectural marvels in world history. Projects like:

- Palm Jumeirah
- Burj Dubai
- Dubai Marina
- World Islands
- Ski Dubai.... and many others have made the entire world focus on Dubai with awe and envy. No other location on the planet has EVER developed so much so fast! And Dubai gave birth to the greatest real estate developers in history. Names like Nakheel, Emaar, Limitless and DAMAC have become almost legend through their amazing Mega Project developments.

Dubai also gave almost unlimited opportunities for great prosperity and wealth to all those expats who chose to come to Dubai and seek their fortunes. Many, many individuals made great fortunes in real estate and finance by coming to Dubai. In fact, Dubai was a true "Boom Town" and the world took notice

But all of this has now changed. In a BIG way! The world economies have crashed and Dubai, once thought immune, is also crashing. And crashing fast. I am truly amazed at how fast people are leaving Dubai. The change over the past few months has been remarkable. People are literally leaving all they had in Dubai.... cars, homes, etc. and just getting on a plane and leaving. Jobs are being lost at an alarming pace, especially in those areas that were only a short time ago the most attractive-- real estate and finance.

Real estate prices are collapsing and will no doubt continue on a downward spiral. The future of many of the great Mega Projects is also in question and in my opinion:

> It is very doubtful that either Palm Jebel Ali or Palm Deira will ever be fully developed. There is simply no demand for developments on these two gigantic man-made islands.

> Dubailand will never come close to the spectacular original plan for the project. I think certain parts will end up getting finished, but the vast majority of the project will never be built. It has always been questionable whether this project, even if it were ever to get fully built, could attract the projected 40,000 visitors a day hoped for. Especially during the hot summer months.

> Dubai Waterfront, which was originally planned to be a Mega Community twice the size of Hong Kong, will never be fully developed. Nakheel Harbour and Tower, part of Dubai Waterfront, has already been cancelled.

> Development of towers in Business Bay will be drastically cut back. What is the point of building more and more business towers if there are no businesses wanting to occupy them? And Dubai already has a successful business district with DIFC. A second business district is not called for.

> The gigantic new Dubai Mall could turn out to be a huge failure as more and more expats leave Dubai.

> Overall, real estate prices will continue down.... probably ending up 80-90% below their all time highs. And of course many more real estate brokerages and developers will go under.

++ Here is a quote from a recently published article in the Financial Times:

"Not so long ago Dubai was an Eldorado for construction and property companies. Attracted by some of the world’s most ostentatious and expensive projects, contractors from round the world flooded in to help the ambitious Emirate turn itself into a modern metropolis.

"Now, according to economists at National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, $250bn (€199bn, £178bn) of projects have been cancelled or delayed in the seven-state United Arab Emirates – the majority in Dubai."

I could continue, but you get the point. On a more positive note I think that once the world economy begins to improve Dubai will bounce back STRONGLY. Dubai has already positioned itself as the center of finance for the Middle East and a leading world business hub. I believe that Dubai will eventually become a world business powerhouse equal to Hong Kong and London.

I also believe that Dubai will continue to be the world's most innovative developer of real estate projects. Once things begin to improve, Dubai will continue to develop amazing Mega Projects.... just at a slower and more balanced pace than during the boom.

One of the big positives that I see are all the great investment opportunities that the crash is creating. I will be giving you my favorite real estate investments for the Gulf Region in a future post.

In the long run I think the future of Dubai and the entire Gulf is very positive. In fact, I think The Gulf will emerge from the world economic crisis sooner and in better condition than most other parts of the world.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dubai And Las Vegas

I have walked the streets of both Dubai and Las Vegas recently only to see gigantic cranes no longer in use looming over partially built Mega Projects that may never be completed. The cranes act as looming monoliths reminding me of a much better time.... a time of great prosperity and limitless ambition.... a time that ended so fast and so hard that many are still in disbelief. And as I look at the current economic crisis situation in both Dubai and Las Vegas I see many, many parallels between the two. Both Dubai and Las Vegas have many things in common:

> They both experienced an incredible real estate boom starting in 2002, which has now crashed,

> They have both built incredible cities where before there was only sand,

> They both think BIG when it comes to real estate development,

> Both Dubai and Las Vegas became "Boom Towns" from '02 until this current economic crash,

> During the boom both Dubai and Las Vegas attracted people from all over the world with a "gambling risk-taking spirit" when it came to real estate investment and development,

> Great fortunes were made and lost in Dubai and Las Vegas in the past seven years,

> They are both home to some of the most incredible Mega Projects in the world:

Dubai has--

* Palm Jumeirah,
* Palm Jebel Ali,
* Palm Deira,
* The World Islands,
* Burj Dubai,
* Ski Dubai,
* Dubai Marina,
* Business Bay,
* DIFC.... and many more.

Las Vegas has--

* Luxor, a gigantic man-made pyramid,
* Venetian, a Mega Resort built to duplicate Venice, Italy,
* Mirage, A Mega Resort with its own exploding volcano,
* MGM City Center, a huge mixed use Mega Project that has Dubai Holding as its partner,
* Mandalay Bay, a golden Mega Resort with its own private man-made beach,
* Stratosphere Tower, the tallest observation tower in the USA at 1149 feet in height,
* New York New York, a Mega Project built to look like a small version of New York City.... and many others.

> Both Dubai and Las Vegas want to be world entertainment centers. To this end Dubai is developing Dubailand, which, if it ever gets fully developed, will be the largest theme park in the world. Dubai also has many other entertainment attractions including Ski Dubai, Wild Wadi Water Park, Desert Safaris, etc. Las Vegas already is a world entertainment hub and has the largest concentration of entertainers on the planet as well as casino gaming, adventure sports, amusement rides and so on.

As you can now see both Dubai and Las Vegas have much in common. I guess the biggest difference between the two is that Dubai has no casino gambling. However with the incredible amount of speculative real estate flipping on projects that had not even broken ground, the Dubai real estate market was at one time one big casino.

Now both Dubai and Las Vegas have a number of big problems in common: > Both have a real estate market that has crashed and continues to get worse, > Both have Mega Projects partially built that may never make it to completion, > Both are losing residents who are leaving to seek prosperity elsewhere, > Both face a great deal of uncertainty about the viability of their future growth, > Both have lost a great deal of investor confidence.

I think in the long run both Dubai and Las Vegas will come back, at least to some degree. It will be interesting to see if they can ever return to their former glory.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Gemini, Business Bay, Dubai

Gemini is a spectacular new commercial tower being developed in Business Bay, Dubai, by Omniyat Properties. Gemini has a cojoined twin tower design and huge black granite walls which are interlaced with veins of white glass, giving the building a very powerful and striking "retro futuristic" look. Set to become a Business Bay landmark when it opens, Gemini has been designed by an in-house team at Omniyat Properties charged with developing exclusive and unique working environments. I have found that one of the hallmarks of Omniyat is that they want their developments to look like works of art....which they do!

"Gemini will be a unique structure with the façade being largely constructed from solid black granite blocks with meandering aluminum and white glass. Its twin-towers are linked by a 15-storey central block which will house freehold offices, serviced offices, a tranquility zone, retail and medical facilities. Its exterior and interior design will differentiate it from its neighbors. The building will stand alone at one of the main Business Bay entrances with two sides facing waterways," said Mehdi Amjad, President and CEO of Omniyat.

Gemini utilizes Omniyat's everything-under-one-roof / city within a city OYSTER principle of design: Offices Yielding Superior Targets through Efficiency and Relaxation. This means that as well as providing exceptional office space, the Gemini also offers unparalleled leisure and relaxation facilities. This includes a unique Tranquillity Zone where employees can go to unwind and relax, ensuring that they’re fresh and ready for work. This zone includes an artificial beach complete with sand and a beach deck, nap shells, aqua massage, and a spa and gym to give the ultimate in relaxation. Other features of Gemini include:

**Executive Club. Provides the perfect surrounding for formal and informal business meetings, networking and conferences. Equipped with a library, a gym and a personal "pit-stop," the Executive Club creates an atmosphere which is ideal for initiating and tightening business relations.

**Retail Area. Extensive shopping facilities all under one roof. The retail area contains banks, travel agents, a business center, speciality shops for chocolate, flowers, greeting cards and jewelry as well as outlet stores and a mini-mart. A car rental agency, a smoking zone, a cash point, an Etisalat payment machine, restaurants, cafés, a Robo-bar, and a nail bar are also offered to give people who work at Gemini the unique city within a city environment.

**Services. Gemini will contain: a day care center where parents who work there can leave their children, medical zones with clinics, dentists and pharmacy, a coiffeur and even a "car spa" will be available to make life more comfortable.

**Dining Areas. According to the developers: 'Dining can be so convenient at Gemini! At lunch time no one wants to waste time searching for a free seat in crowded far-off restaurants. Just change floors and enter a world of lovely tastes and delicious indulgence. Four restaurants provide a great variety of foods. One of them is an exclusive fine dining restaurant set in a landscaped terrace overlooking the creek."

I really like how Omniyat has designed the offices at Gemini. They feel that standard offices are outdated and instead call their offices Corporate Performance Enhancement Centers 'where the features, facilities and technology will make your work life comfortable, convenient and productive.'

Even parking your car at Gemini is something out of the future: 'The organization of the traffic flow at The Gemini will awe you. High-tech streamlined vehicle paths will facilitate organized vehicle traffic within and around the building. And over 1200 spacious parking berths will see that you’ll never be in a tight spot when it comes to parking,' according to Omniyat.

"By delivering convenience and efficiency we ensure our buyers and tenants will live the future. This self-sufficient building will aid efficiency as staff will no longer have to leave the office to pay bills, go to the dentist or visit the travel agent. All these tasks can be accomplished in one place with minimal effort which will enhance workplace productivity," said Ehab S. Shouly, Senior Vice President & Marketing Director of Omniyat.

Gemini at Business Bay will be one of the finest locations to work at in Dubai. This Mega Project offers everything a business could want for ultimate work performance and employee satisfaction!

This link takes you to The Gemini website:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dubai Waterfront: Could This Be The Number One UAE Mega Project?

> Bigger than Manhattan!
> Bigger Than Beirut!
> Twice the size of Hong Kong!
> So big it will dwarf the Palm Islands!
> Largest waterfront development in the world!
> Largest master planned development in the world!

THE DUBAI WATERFRONT!! At 1.4 BILLION square feet this Mega Project, if ever completely developed by Nakheel, will perhaps be the greatest of all the UAE Mega Projects! Here are a few more stats about the Dubai Waterfront:

> It will eventually be home to 1.5 million residents,
> It will add 70km of coastline to Dubai,
> More than 20,000 workers are involved in building the project,
> 3.52 million cubic meters of land reclaimed EACH MONTH for the project,
> Dubai Waterfront will create 1 million jobs!

According to Nakheel:

'Waterfront will comprise a wide variety of residences, commercial districts and industrial areas, with a number of major tourist attractions and leisure amenities that are expected of a city for more than a million people. In addition to the high-end residential and business properties, Waterfront will also provide a range of affordable housing for Dubai’s working community.

'Waterfront's location ensures it is easily accessible on a local, regional and international basis. Positioned between the leading hubs of the UAE, with the capital Abu Dhabi to its west and the commercial hub of Dubai to its east, Waterfront is located close to prime international commerce and industry hubs Jebel Ali Port, Dubai World Central Airport, and the Jebel Ali Free Zone. Waterfront’s location ensures it is easily accessible on a local, regional and international basis.'

Dubai Waterfront is planned to have 6 distinct districts:

1. Waterfront City. An entire city within Dubai Waterfront that will contain a wide variety of towers, residences, offices and entertainment options. This district of Dubai Waterfront will house 80,000 and have a working population of 300,000. It will cover 330 hectares, having a central island surrounded by four neighboring districts: Boulevard, Madinat Al Soor, the Resort and the Marina.

2. Madinat Al Arab. This district will be home to Al Burj, which will be even taller than Burj Dubai. Madinat will also contain resorts, commercial and retail spaces, residences and a light rail system.

3. Canal District. Will contain 5 harbors and take up 178 hectares of land.

4. Omran. This project will provide high quality accommodations for approximately 60,000 members of the workforce. Omran will take workforce accommodations to a new high level of excellence.

5. Veneto. This is the ultra luxury district of Dubai Waterfront, and according to Nakheel it will be comparable to Bel Air, The Hamptons and St. Tropez. The residences will be made up of villas and low-rise townhouses.

6. Badrah. This community will offer affordable residences for a population of 120,000. Also at Badrah will be schools that include a modern university, retail and leisure outlets, restaurants, parks, and a business district called Talla.

Dubai Waterfront is without a doubt one of the greatest real estate developments in world history! It is an awe inspiring undertaking and only a Mega Developer like Nakheel could handle a project of this scope and magnitude. In fact, if ever completed - and with the current economic downturn this is in doubt, Dubai Waterfront may very well be the NUMBER ONE UAE MEGA PROJECT!!

This link takes you to the Dubai Waterfront website, which is one of the most well designed websites I have ever seen:


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Villamar At The Harbour, Bahrain

I have no doubt that the best place to live in Bahrain will be Villamar, located at the spectacular Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. This $650Million Mega Residential Project being developed by Gulf Holding is one of the most exquisite residential developments I have seen anywhere in The Gulf! It is on par with the best being offered in Dubai and Abu Dhabi!

"We are extremely pleased with the launch of Villamar at the Harbour, the first residential development within BFH and therefore a milestone achievement. We congratulate Gulf Holding Company for delivering such a stunning world-class residential product within the overall design philosophy of BFH," said Mr. Esam Janahi, Chairman of Bahrain Financial Harbour.

Located on a site of over 32,000 square meters, Villamar will contain 2 different residential offerings:

> The Glass Towers. Three towers from 47 to 57 floors that, like all of Bahrain Financial Harbour, look like something from 200 years in the future! The towers have a gentle twist to them and are completely covered in blue-green glass to reflect the natural colors of Manama Bay. The towers face the sea to provide wonderful views for residents.

> The Floating Villas. These stunning villas make up the perimeter of the development. The villas rest on elevated towers 4 storeys high and have been designed to be "Villas In The Sky." These unique floating four and five bedroom residences feature double-height living spaces, balconies, and terraces with superb views of the boardwalk and the sea.

Another feature of Villamar is The Podium. The Podium is a series of landscaped terraces dropping towards the sea and featuring landscaped parks, pools and water walls. A health club and spa is located on the uppermost terrace providing unobstructed sea views. Parking for 1,800 cars is provided discreetly within the podium terraces.

Villamar will also have a Boardwalk that will be a major public attraction, featuring indoor and outdoor cafes, restaurants and boutique retail spaces. The experience of the Boardwalk includes shaded and air-cooled walkways, dancing water features and landscaped plazas.

"Bahrain has emerged as one of the most attractive real estate markets for investors in the region. Looking into the future it is very clear that the Bahrain Financial Harbour will be the focal point of the financial services industry in Bahrain and as such properties within it will be amongst the most prime real estate in the country. There is a clear need to provide residential accommodation of this quality within easy reach of the offices and facilities of BFH. We see this model operating successfully in other international financial centres such as Canary Wharf in London, ” said Mr. Faisal Al Mutawa, Chairman of Bayan Investment Company, a major shareholder of Gulf Holding.

There are many fine residences in Bahrain. Sukoon Tower, Amwaj Islands and Bahrain Bay to name just a few. However I feel that Villamar is truly the "Best of the Best" that Bahrain.... or anywhere else in The Gulf, has to offer!

This link takes you to the Villamar website:


...and this link tales you to the Bahrain Financial Harbour website:


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dubai Festival City

Dubai Festival City (DFC), being developed by Al-Futtaim Group, is a $5Billion mixed use Mega Project spanning 1300 acres and stretching 3 kilometers along the Dubai Creek. DFC has been designed to be a fully integrated and self contained waterfront "city within a city" community. DFC will offer the finest in residences, shopping and entertainment, upscale offices, hotels and even schools...all in one convenient location only 5 minutes from Dubai International Airport.

> City Living. DFC will be home to over 50,000 and will offer all kinds of residences from luxurious high rises and townhouses to more affordable homes for working professionals. Residences include:

**Marsa Plaza,
**Al Badia Residences,
**Al Badia Hillside Village,
**Al Areesh Club.

> Shopping and Dining. DFC offers a wide variety of shopping and restaurant choices including:

**Festival Waterfront Centre with 550 stores, 90 restaurants, and a mutliplex cinema,
**Dubai Gold Marketplace,
**Canal Walk featuring 40 restaurants,
**Festival Marina-- the yachting hub of DFC with over 100 berths as well as fine dining and shopping,
**Waterfront Pavilions offering unique shopping, dining and entertainment features,
**5-Star Concierge Service.

> Entertainment. DFC will offer a large variety of entertainment options:

**Al Badia Golf Course and Club. Managed by Four Seasons and designed by Robert Trent Jones ll,
**Bowling City. Bowling is booming all over the Middle East and DFC will have one of the best bowling centers in the UAE,
**Festival Marina will offer all kinds of yachting events,
**Grand Cinemas-- twelve screen cinema complex,
**Non-Stop Events. There are always a multitude of events going on at DFC.

> Hotels / Hospitality. DFC will offer some of the finest accommodations in Dubai:

**Four Seasons Dubai Festival City,
**W Dubai Festival City,
**Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City,
**Intercontinental Dubai Festival City,
**Intercontinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival City.

> Offices. DFC will offer enough office space for 50,000 personnel. The offices will be located in:

**Al Badia Business Park,
**Marsa Al Khor Business Park,
**Festival Tower.

> Marsa Automotive Park. A boulevard devoted to the automotive industry featuring showrooms with the following brands: Lexus, Toyota, Honda, Dodge, Volvo, Jeep and Chrysler.

Dubai Festival City is one of the finest mixed use Mega Projects being developed in the UAE. It will attract visitors from all over the Middle East and other parts of the world to the superlative lifestyle that Dubai has to offer!

Here is a DFC video from YouTube:


This link takes you to the DFC website:


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sky Tower, Reem Island, Abu Dhabi

Sky Tower, being developed by Sorouh, is located in the Gate District of Shams Abu Dhabi on Reem Island. Sky Tower will be one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world when finished, rising to a height of 300 meters/74 storeys. According to Sorouh:

'The Sky Tower creates a new perspective on life, with spectacular panoramic views of the Gulf and Abu Dhabi Island. This striking 74-storey elliptical edifice combines residential and commercial space assembled vertically around a central core. Clean modern lines and quality finishes define the interior spaces, while state-of-the-art amenities underwrite the lifestyle offering. Residents and workers are assured of a space that sets the ultimate standards in luxury and convenience.'

Sky Tower will have 3 separate areas: Residential, Business and Retail:


The top 34 floors of the tower, starting at the 41st, will all be residential. Apartments will be offered in a choice of 1, 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms. For those who want the ultimate in Reem Island luxury, 3 and 4 bedroom duplex penthouses will also be offered. There will be 8 express elevators in Sky Tower that will do nothing but serve the residential units! Residents also have their own private lobby. A wide variety of amenities include:

**Fully-Equipped 180,000 sqft Fitness and Leisure Center,
**Spa with sauna, steam room, and massage rooms with separate male and female areas,
**A 10,000 sqft Gymnasium containing state-of-the-art equipment,
**3 Tennis Courts,
**2 Squash Courts,
**70m Infinity Pool,
**Lap Pool,
**Sun Deck,
**Party Room,
**Yoga Lawn.


All of the offices will be luxurious with floor to ceiling windows giving panoramic views. The technology will all be state-of-the-art and the highest quality materials are used artistically throughout to convey superior levels of elegance and urban sophistication. This is going to be one of the most prestigious office locations in Abu Dhabi.


Sky Tower will contain a 130,000 sqft shopping and entertainment district centered on an atrium linked internally to the level 1 lobby and to the street. This district will offer:

**Fine Dining Restaurants,
**Gourmet Food Market,
**Hair & Beauty Salon,
**Travel Agent,
**Real Estate Agent,
**News Stand,
**Book Store,
**Dry Cleaner.

Mounir Haidar, CEO of Sorouh, said this about Sky Tower:

"The Sky Tower offers a unique combination of facilities that will enable it to support all the essential needs of its occupants on site. This distinguishes it from other major projects in the region."

Sky Tower will be one of the iconic landmarks of Reem Island. It will be one of the most prestigious locations to live and work in all of Abu Dhabi.

This link takes you to the Sky Tower section of the Sorouh website:


...and this link takes you to the Gate District at Shams Abu Dhabi website:


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jazan Economic City, Saudi Arabia

Jazan Economic City (JEC) is a Mega Project being developed by MMC and Saudi Binladen Group. The City will be built in the Province of Jazan which lies in the south west section of Saudi Arabia. Jazan has a population of approximately 1.2 million and covers an area of 40,000 sq km. It is ideally situated on the southern Red Sea Coast with a coastline of almost 300 km and in close proximity to the main east and west sea trade routes to Europe, the Far East and the Arabian Gulf.

According to JEC's developers: 'JEC will be wholly dedicated to pioneering further development of Saudi Arabia’s economy and her people. The proposed city of the future offers a timely opportunity to nurture non-oil based industries and to build and expand on new industries relevant to the Kingdom’s needs and aspirations.'

JEC will be divided into 4 distinct areas as follows:

1.) Heavy Industries;

- Power Plant
- Port
- Aluminum Smelter
- Refinery
- Dry Dock

2.) Secondary Industries;

- Silicon Processing
- Tech/Agritech Park
- Textiles
- Pharmaceuticals
- Food Processing
- Chemicals and Plastics
- Secondary Manufacturing
- Construction Materials
- Metal Fabrication

3.) Human Capital;

- Commercial Business District
- Education Area
- Recreation and Sports Facilities
- Convention and Exhibition Area
- Civic Administration
- Grand Mosque

4.) Lifestyle;

- Hotels and Leisure Developments
- Marina
- Residences

When I take a look at this project in its entirety I see that JEC is one of the most well balanced and well thought out Saudi Mega Projects I have seen to date. More facts on JEC from the developers:

> JEC represents one of the most important hubs on the coastline of the Red Sea, strategically in close proximity to local and international markets. Accordingly, this provides opportunities for better trade relations between Asia and Africa, offering valuable opportunities for investment and facilitating sea navigation and cargo shipping.

> JEC will draw more than a hundred million Saudi Riyals worth of private investment from the various sectors in the Economic City, consequently also contributing to 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

> A large portion of the residential area lies on the periphery of the Gulf Coast, and the developers have designed residential marina housing, which will contribute to providing opportunities for the development of the real estate and encourage the luxurious lifestyle of the residents.

> JEC offers various lifestyle accommodations for its employees, hosting nearly 250,000 residents, which will in turn, vitalize residential and real estate development, especially near the education and health services vicinities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rapidly expanding and developing world class Mega Projects. Jazan Economic City will contribute greatly to the economic growth of this great Arab Nation!

This link takes you to the JEC website:


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