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:


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