"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

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:

> 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.

ABU DHABI:

> 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:

> 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 caf├ęs and restaurants, --Educational areas, etc. I think Ajman Marina will be Ajman's most desirable project.

BAHRAIN:

> 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.

QATAR:

> 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.

SAUDI ARABIA:

> 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.

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