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.

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