Sunday, December 16, 2012

My DAMAC Properties Interview

DAMAC Properties is one of the leading real estate developers in the Middle East. Its real estate projects are some of the finest and most cutting edge I have ever seen and the company has great integrity. DAMAC Properties was established in 2002 as a private residential, leisure and commercial developer in Dubai and the rest of the Middle East. In this interview I conducted with Mr. Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties, we will cover a full range of interesting topics.

BRETT SIEGEL: One of my favorite developments in Dubai International Financial Centre is DAMAC's Park Towers. How has Park Towers been doing since its completion?

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: Park Towers is one of the most iconic projects we have completed and stands proud in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre. As winner of the ‘Best Mixed-Use Development’ at the International Property Awards it is not only a symbol of luxury and quality in Dubai, but across the world. The two towers were completed almost a year ago now and we have been delighted by the response from the residents, who enjoy living in one of the most vibrant and thriving districts in Dubai. Each tower is 49 storeys high, and offers exquisitely designed one, two and three bedroom apartments.

BRETT SIEGEL: I am very enthused about all the development going on at Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. Give us some details about what DAMAC is doing on Al Reem Island.

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: DAMAC Properties has two projects on Al Reem Island. The first, Marina Bay, was completed at the end of September 2012. We are now in the process of handing over the 24-storey tower which has exquisite views of the canal that connects the entire development. It is a huge milestone for us as Marina Bay is our first completed project in Abu Dhabi.

We are also making good progress on Oceanscape, our second project on Al Reem Island. Oceanscape will occupy a prime position on the water's edge at Al Reem Island offering residents uninterrupted views of the sea. The development also includes exclusive sea-facing townhouses above the podium level and with retail space over three levels.

BRETT SIEGEL: DAMAC Properties' Ocean Heights Tower in Dubai Marina has to be one of the most beautiful residential towers in the world. What was the inspiration behind the development of Ocean Heights?

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: Ocean Heights, another project which is already completed, is one of our most sought after towers. Blessed with amazing views over the Palm Jumeirah on the entrance to Dubai Marina, the tower spirals skywards, creating a dramatically different view from every angle of the apartment. The inspiration was to bring the peaceful ambiance of the marina to the luxury living of the apartment.

BRETT SIEGEL: To say that Qatar is booming would be an understatement. What projects does DAMAC Properties have lined up for Qatar?

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: We are working on a number of highly anticipated projects in the Lusail district of Doha, Qatar. The Piazza is a large development of Italian-style low-residential and office developments, which are set to be completed as early as the middle of 2013. The four-storey developments will hand over next year in one of the most desirable areas in the Qatari capital.

Business Square, a 20-storey mixed use high-end luxury development is scheduled for 2014.

We have seen a strong uptake for all three of the mixed use developments under construction in the iconic Lusail City. Our projects in Qatar are dominating the enquiries coming in to our overseas offices; comfortably rising ten-fold since Qatar was selected to host the World Cup. Business Square, the Piazza One and Two are all progressing at a good pace and are already close to selling out.

BRETT SIEGEL: Saudi Arabia is rapidly going to the forefront of real estate development in the Middle East. How is DAMAC's Al Jawharah Tower in Jeddah progressing?

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: Al Jawharah in Jeddah is making great progress and is already becoming an iconic tower on the skyline overlooking the Red Sea. We have now passed the 32nd floor of the tower that will eventually stretch 48 floors into the sky. The project recently won the ‘Outstanding Development of the Year’ Award in the GCC from The Big Project and was also highly commended, for the second year in a row, at the International Property Awards in the Residential High-Rise Development’ category and ‘Best Interior Design’ category for the partnership with Versace Home.

Work was recently completed on the Versace Home designed dedicated lobby to the DAMAC Residences.

We are working closely with Versace Home to develop ‘The DAMAC Residences’, a distinguished interior design concept for the top ten floors of the project that will produce the most exclusive residential apartments in the Kingdom.

Apartments of one, two or three bedroom homes are expected to be delivered by the last quarter of 2013. The DAMAC Residences project, with its limited release Versace Home designed interiors, is anticipated to be completed by the second quarter of 2014.

BRETT SIEGEL: Tell us more about the Overseas Property Professionals Excellence Awards that DAMAC was given.

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: We were delighted receive the Developer of the Year Award for the Middle East at this year’s Overseas Property Professionals (OPP) Excellence Awards. The OPP Excellence Awards in London brought together 300 of the leading figures in the global property market from more than 20 different countries. The Best Developer in the Middle East award was selected by a panel of highly experienced judges from across the world.

BRETT SIEGEL: It’s good to see that real estate development in Dubai is once again on an upswing and the recent announcement of the Mohammed Bin Rashid City Mega Project is particularly upbeat. What is DAMAC's view of the future of the Dubai real estate industry?

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: Dubai’s property market will grow at a steadier and more stable pace over the next year. There will be solid investment opportunities. Independent reports have put the growth in prices of real estate in Dubai through 2012 at anywhere from 7-19 percent, depending on location and the quality of the project. In 2013 buyers will definitely be able to benefit from this capital growth, but will need to be smart about where they invest and in which projects in each area.

Location will remain key with projects in areas which already have solid infrastructure and these projects will continue to drive a premium, but there will also be great investment opportunities in the projects where infrastructure is just underway. As this completes these projects will grow in value significantly.

Overall there has not been a better time to invest in the Dubai real estate market in the past four years. The increases in business and tourism coming to Dubai will make it one of the most lucrative real estate markets in the world in 2013.

BRETT SIEGEL: Tell us about some exciting new projects in the DAMAC pipeline.

MR. MCLOUGHLIN: We currently have 65 buildings at various stages of progress across the Middle East and North Africa, so there is a great deal of development underway.

Some of the projects that are coming online next year in the Hotel Serviced Apartments sector are highly anticipated. Burjside Boulevard, in the Burj Area of Dubai, will be our first luxury serviced apartment offering and providing five-star concierge services throughout – offering some of the highest luxury we have ever brought to the market.

We think serviced apartments will prove very popular as this is currently an under-served sector in Dubai. Owners will be able to enjoy their property and the services that go with it, or if they are away for any period of time, we will add it to our rental pool and manage the whole process of finding tenants and collecting rent. It is the most flexible investment opportunity we have offered.

BRETT SIEGEL: Thank you for this interview Mr. McLoughlin and I know DAMAC Properties will continue to develop superlative real estate projects throughout the Middle East!


DAMAC Properties Co. LLC
P.O Box 2195
Dubai, UAE
Tel: +971 4 373 1000
Fax: +971 4 373 1001
Toll Free: 800 32622 (UAE only)
Web: http://www.damacproperties.com/

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Interview With Mr. Tareq Abu-Sukheila, Managing Director, Gensler Abu Dhabi

I am very happy to be able to interview Mr. Tareq Abu-Sukheila the Managing Director of Gensler Abu Dhabi. Gensler is one of the largest and finest architecture and design firms in the world with over 3,500 professionals located in 42 offices on five continents. Gensler has a strong presence in the Middle East and works with a range of private developers and government organizations. In this interview we cover Gensler's role in the new National Bank Of Abu Dhabi Global Head Office development as well as Gensler's role in and view of the entire region.

BRETT SIEGEL: Hello Mr. Abu-Sukheila could you please give UAE Mega Projects readers a summary of the new National Bank Of Abu Dhabi(NBAD) Global Head Office project?

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: The new National Bank Of Abu Dhabi’s Global Head Office will be a landmark building strategically located on a key site of Al Maryah Island. The building will be 67,300 square meters, 31-floors, and will face both the waterfront and a main access road. The building will primarily accommodate commercial office space while incorporating multiple functions, including hub bank, tower lobbies, trading floors, auditorium, conferencing center and a cafeteria.

The crisp and contemporary design is based on understanding the client’s aspirations, of creating a global headquarters that exemplifies strong commercial and corporate identity. Our designers gave special consideration to presenting an outstanding building that carries an unmistakable presence and dignity, while ensuring a highly functional and efficient interior.

BRETT SIEGEL: Exactly what will Gensler's role be throughout the construction of the project?

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: Gensler is providing full design and supervision consultancy services including architecture, interior design, landscape design, engineering and site supervision services.

BRETT SIEGEL: Why was Al Maryah Island chosen as the location for the new NBAD Global Head Office?

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: Al Maryah Island was chosen because it will be the core of Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District as designated by the Urban Planning Council in its visionary Plan Abu Dhabi 2030. In following with UPC’s vision, NBAD’s new head office was designed to be a distinctive building with a strong presence, sculpted around the island’s master plan.

BRETT SIEGEL: Tell us about some of the unique features of the new NBAD Global Head Office.

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: Gensler’s design team created a timeless modern structure with a unique form and sleek silhouette that will enhance Al Maryah’s skyline. The building is designed around a symmetrical central core that displays a clear axial relationship between the waterfront and main vehicular road. The overall massing is split into two thin towers emphasizing verticality and slenderness.

A key driver of the design concept was to compose a facade to reflect the presence of a well-established bank, within the context of contemporary society. To accomplish this, Gensler designers “veiled” the building with an arrangement of vertical fins that are used to extenuate the towers, while simultaneously creating a dynamic exterior that responds to the environment due to the varied fin rotations. During the day the fins modulate light and provide solar protection, in the evening they provide the illusion of a streaming glow, which creates the aesthetic perception of authority in a simple straightforward manner.

BRETT SIEGEL: What role do you see Gensler playing in the tremendous amount of real estate development we see going on in the Middle East?

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: Overall, the UAE has proven to be a solid location for continued growth. Due to the plethora of projects over the past several years, clients have begun to become more educated and are beginning to demand higher quality from their projects. This has begun and will continue to provide new opportunities for the consultants in the region.

Gensler has experienced this first hand, as we have begun to gain more traction across the GCC over the past several years. Having a local presence has paid off as the firm has gained the trust and credibility of strategic developers mostly attributed to the gradual build-up in the Abu Dhabi office capacity to take on more work from the GCC. As we look toward the future, we are excited to be part of this uniquely positioned emerging market.

BRETT SIEGEL: What is Gensler's view of the future of the UAE as a world leader in cutting edge real estate development?

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: Since the financial crisis of 2009 there has been continued growth in the UAE economy primarily due to favorable oil prices and substantial public expenditure. In addition, governmental subsidization across all sectors, and re-organization of several of the largest semi-public real estate development firms, assisted in maintaining steady growth amidst pricing pressure in all Emirates of the UAE. This translates into a slow and steady investment into real estate and development projects across the GCC.

With this incline we continue to see the UAE committed to the development of quality real estate projects that support the remaining needs of both business’ and residents across the Emirates. Standards are set very high and will naturally position the UAE as a leader in progressive and strategic real estate development.

BRETT SIEGEL: Could you tell us about other key Gensler projects in the Middle East?

MR. ABU-SUKHEILA: Gensler is currently involved in several key projects in the GCC, just to name some of these projects: The Avenues Mall in Kuwait; Wafra Seef F&B in Mahboula, Kuwait; Musheireb Heart of Doha, Qatar; World Trade Center KAFD, Riyadh, KSA; Wafra Real Estate Corporate Offices, Kuwait City; Al Ghurair Investment Group Corporate Offices in Dubai, UAE and Bloom Central Marriott Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

BRETT SIEGEL: Thank you for this interview Mr. Abu-Sukheila and we look forward to the growth and expansion of Gensler in the Middle East.


Gensler Abu Dhabi
Al Buteen Tower C6, Office C503
Binunah Street No. 34
PO Box 26967
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 (0)2 635 9100
Fax: +971 (0)2 635 9186

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cityscape Global 2012

Cityscape Global is one of the largest and most prestigious real estate events in the world. It is held each year in Dubai and this year took place from October 2-4 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Top people from all areas of the real estate industry in the Middle East and beyond go to Cityscape Global including: developers, investors, brokers, architects and many other real estate professionals. What follows are excerpts from one of the press releases given by Cityscape which will give you a more complete overall view of the event:

Cityscape Global, the Middle East's largest and most influential international real estate event, is expected to grow by 25 per cent this year, as international developers from the world's emerging markets look to the region for potential investors.

Taking place from 2-4 October at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the three-day event was repositioned three years ago to boost its international appeal, and is now seeing the results, with more than 50 per cent of exhibition space set to be occupied by overseas exhibitors.

Among the major international developers from emerging markets this year include the Russian developer Northern Caucasus Resorts Company (NCRC), and Turkish developer Agaoglu, which will showcase some of its flagship residential and office projects in the most prominent suburbs of Istanbul.

Nevra Dilmen, International Sales Director from Agaoglu said: "Agaoglu is one of the largest property developers in Turkey, with more than 50 per cent of our customers consisting of foreigners. The Middle East is particularly important for us, as lately most of our customers have come from the region.

"Our involvement at Cityscape Global 2012 is therefore a key part of our global marketing strategy, and we look forward to revealing at the show our latest project consisting of 7,000 units, which upon completion will be the largest project ever developed in Turkey."

Meanwhile, Barwa Real Estate from Qatar, another headline exhibitor participating at Cityscape Global is having a big year in 2012, as it delivers its portfolio of mega developments - Barwa Al Sadd, Barwa Commercial Avenue, and Barwa City.

Abdulla Abdulaziz Al Subaie, Group CEO at Barwa Real Estate said: "Locally, we are establishing Barwa's way of planning and delivering projects and we will replicate our excellence model to other global markets. "Through our participation at Cityscape Global, we are demonstrating our unique development approach and creativity focusing on delivering world-class quality standards."

The repositioning of Cityscape Global to attract more international exhibitors from emerging markets is well timed. According to The World in 2050 report compiled by HSBC Global Research, by 2050, 19 of the 30 largest economies will be from the emerging world, fuelled by improved economic governance, human capital resources, and growing income per capita.

Wouter Molman, Exhibition Director for Cityscape Global said: "Cityscape Global has seen a significant increase of international real estate companies and developers seeking a new breed of international investor that Cityscape Global attracts. The growth of the event is largely due to overseas participation from countries including Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Egypt and further afield including Russia, Poland, UK, Brazil, Chile, USA, India and Turkey.

Now in its 11th edition, Cityscape Global is the annual meeting point for key real estate investors, developers, investment promotion authorities, architects, designers and other real estate professionals to drive growth in real estate investment and development across emerging markets globally.

In addition to the large international contingent of exhibitors taking part this year, key Dubai developers will also be returning to showcase their latest real estate updates, including Dubai Properties, Nakheel, Meraas Development, DAMAC, Deyaar, and Dubai World Central.

Dubai's real estate sector is also set for double digit growth in the next three years, due to a constant stream of fresh project handovers, while an influx of new supply entered the market in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the Dubai Real Estate Market Overview Q1 2012 report released by global real estate service firm, Jones Lang Salle, 3,000 residential units were completed in the first three months of this year, bringing the total number of units in Dubai to 341,000.

A further 28,000 residential units are expected to be delivered for the remainder of 2012, while another 15,000 units should be ready for handover in 2013 and 2014, presenting a supply increase of 12 per cent from the current amount of stock.

Office space in Dubai is expected to increase by 24 per cent by the end of 2013, reaching 7.2 million square metres, as the Emirate is likely to add an extra 1.4 million sqm to the current 5.8 million sqm, the report said.

The hospitality sector is also seeing strong growth, with the opening of Millennium Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road, and Rixos The Palm in the first quarter of this year adding a further 700 hotel rooms to Dubai's booming tourism industry, amounting to a total of 54,100 rooms. Another 11,300 rooms are expected to be injected by the end of 2014, up 20 per cent from the current amount of rooms.

Also Co-located with the exhibition are three dedicated conference programmes, including the Global Real Estate Summit, the World Architecture Congress and the Retail City Conference, bringing together a combined 750 senior real estate professionals who will explore opportunities and find solutions to key challenges affecting the industry today.

Cityscape Global link:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sovereign Wealth Funds Top 10

This is my second Top 10 post and here I will cover the world's ten largest sovereign wealth funds(SWFs). In previous posts I have covered many of the Middle East SWFs. I want to give you a more complete look at the SWFs in this post so I will list the Top 10 SWFs of the world rather than only focus on those in the MENA Region. Three of the Top 10 SWFs, including the world's largest, are all in the Middle East: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and Kuwait Invest Authority.

The SWFs are important to the Mega Project industry because many of them invest directly in the projects while others help to create an economic environment conducive to Mega Project development. I will give you the name of the SWF followed by the assets of the fund. A short description of the fund comes next along with complete contact information.


Established in 1976, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is a globally diversified investment institution that is wholly owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

ADIA manages a diversified global investment portfolio across more than two-dozen asset classes and sub-categories, including quoted equities, fixed income, real estate, private equity, alternatives and infrastructure.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
211 Corniche, PO Box 3600
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Tel +971 2 415 0000
Fax +971 2 415 1000


NBIM(Norges Bank Investment Management) manages the fund on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, which owns the fund on behalf of the Norwegian people. The ministry determines the fund’s investment strategy, following advice from among others NBIM and discussions in Parliament.

The ministry regularly transfers petroleum revenue to the fund. The capital is invested abroad, to avoid overheating the Norwegian economy and to shield it from the effects of oil price fluctuations. The fund invests in international equity and fixed-income markets and real estate. The aim is to have a diversified investment mix that will give the highest possible risk-adjusted return within the guidelines set by the ministry.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM)
Bankplassen 2
P.O. Box 1179 Sentrum
NO-0107 Oslo, Norway
Tel +47 24 07 30 00
Fax +44 20 7534 9010

3.) SAFE INVESTMENT COMPANY(State Administration of Foreign Exchange), China, $567.9 Billion

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) is responsible for managing China’s foreign exchange reserves. Top holdings include Royal Dutch Shell, Barclays, Tesco and Rio Tinto.

SAFE Investment Company
Huarong Plaza,
No.18 in Fucheng Road,
Haidian District, Beijing, 100048
Tel 68402265

4.) SAMA FOREIGN HOLDINGS, Saudi Arabia, $532.8 Billion

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the central bank of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was established in 1952. Functions: issues national currency, the Saudi Riyal; acts as a banker to the government; supervises commercial banks; manages Kingdom’s foreign exchange reserves; conducts monetary policy for promoting price and exchange rate stability; promotes the growth and ensures the soundness of the financial system.

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency
Al-Ma’ather Street
P.O. Box 2992
Riyadh 11169
Saudi Arabia
Tel +966-1- 463-3000
Fax +966-1- 466-2936 / 466-2966


China Investment Corporation (CIC) is an investment institution established as a wholly state-owned company under the Company Law of the People’s Republic of China and headquartered in Beijing. The mission of CIC is to make long-term investments that maximize risk adjusted financial returns for the benefit of its shareholder.

China Investment Corporation
New Poly Plaza,
No.1 Chaoyangmen Beidajie,
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100010
Tel +86 (10) 8409 6167
Fax +86 (10) 6408 6731


The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is an autonomous government body responsible
for the management and administration of the General Reserve Fund (GRF), and the
assets of the Future Generations Fund (FGF), as well as any other funds entrusted to it by the Minister of Finance for and on behalf of the State of Kuwait. KIA invests in the Local, Arab and International Markets with its main office located in Kuwait City and a branch office in London, UK.

Kuwait Investment Authority
Ministries Complex,
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Tel +(965)2485600
Fax +(965)2454059


The HKMA is the government authority in Hong Kong responsible for maintaining monetary and banking stability. Its main functions are: maintaining currency stability within the framework of the Linked Exchange Rate system; promoting the stability and integrity of the financial system, including the banking system; helping to maintain Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, including the maintenance and development of Hong Kong's financial infrastructure; managing the Exchange Fund.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
55th Floor
Two International Finance Centre
8 Finance Street
Central Hong Kong
Tel (852) 2878 8196
Fax (852) 2878 8197


GIC was incorporated in 1981 under the Singapore Companies Act and is wholly owned by the Government of Singapore. Our aim is to achieve good long-term returns for the Government - a reasonable risk-adjusted rate above global inflation over a 20-year investment horizon. By achieving these returns, we fulfil our responsibility to preserve and enhance Singapore's foreign reserves. The reserves provide a stream of income that can be spent or invested for the benefit of present and future generations. We do not own the funds we manage. We manage these funds on behalf of the Government of Singapore, our client.

Government of Singapore Investment Corp.
168 Robinson Road
#37-01 Capital Tower
Singapore 068912
Tel (65) 6889 8888
Fax (65) 6889 8722

9.) TEMASEK HOLDINGS, Singapore, $157.5 Billion

Temasek's investment themes center on Transforming Economies, Growing Middle Income Populations, Deepening Comparative Advantages and Emerging Champions. Its portfolio covers a broad spectrum of industries: financial services; telecommunications; media & technology; transportation & industrials; consumer & real estate; energy & resources; and life sciences.

Temasek Holdings
60B Orchard Road
#06-18 Tower 2
The Atrium@Orchard
Singapore 238891
Tel +65 6828 6828
Fax +65 6821 1188


A combination of two funds, the National Wealth Fund and the Reserve fund:

The National Wealth Fund (NWF) is a part of federal budget assets. NWF is dedicated to support the pension system of the Russian Federation to guarantee long-term sound functioning of the system. Fund’s primary assignments are to co-finance voluntary pension savings of Russian citizens and to balance the budget of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation.

The Reserve Fund is a part of the federal budget assets. The Reserve Fund is dedicated to ensure financing of the federal budget expenses and maintaining federal budget balance in case oil and gas budget revenues decline. The Reserve Fund contributes to stability of the Russian Federation economic development by means of reducing inflationary pressure and insulating national economy from volatility of earnings generated by export of non-renewable natural resources.

Russia National Welfare Fund
9 Ulitsa Ilyinka,
Moscow 109097
Tel (495) 987-91-01
Fax (495) 987-91-01

++ A complete list of all the SWFs of the Middle East can be found in the sidebar of this blog in the SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND LINKS section.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dubai Marina Top 10

Dubai Marina is one of the world's great Mega Projects. Master-Developed by Emaar, Dubai Marina is one of the most spectacular marinas in the Middle East. In fact I would take that a step further and say Dubai Marina is one of the most spectacular marinas in the entire world. There is an enormous amount of real estate development going on at Dubai Marina. In this post I am going to give you my Top 10 real estate developments in the Marina, the projects I consider the Best Of The Best. I will list each of my ten project choices along with the developer of the project and then give you a short explanation of why I like the project so much. After that a more complete description is given directly from the developer's website followed by a link to the site where you can get more information.

1.) INFINITY TOWER, Cayan Investment & Development

A true iconic development Infinity Tower actually curves at a 90 degree angle making the tower an architectural wonder. Infinity Tower is already becoming famous internationally as another Dubai Wonder Of The World.

From The Developer:

Infinity is an 80-storey residential tower that spirals in a smooth curve by an astonishing 90 degrees to give every apartment a stunning view of the sea or marina. Infinity’s dynamic twisting shape challenges conventional architecture and redefines standards of luxury. Infinity is also situated in a key location at the mouth of Dubai Marina thus enjoying great views on to the marina, sea and The Palm.

Infinity is a true architectural vision, certain to take its place as an icon not only in Dubai but in the world. Designed by world-renowned Skidmore Owings and Merrill, also known for projects such as Burj Dubai, Trump Tower in Chicago, Jin Mao in Shanghai among many others.



One of the most beautiful towers in Dubai. Ocean Heights twists as it rises giving the tower a stunning look that cannot be forgotten. A great tower in a great location offering first class living. Good job DAMAC.

From The Developer:

Ocean Heights, a Dubai apartment development situated in the premium acreage of Dubai, surrounded by five-star resorts, boutique hotels and breathtaking futuristic developments. Where you can choose between the refined pleasures of luxury hotels and entertainment plazas, and a sundown barbecue with your family and friends.

The majestic tower spirals skywards, creating a dramatically different view from every angle of your apartment. Gaze at the Palm Jumeirah over your morning coffee, or admire the glittering lights of Dubai in the evening.


3.) 23 MARINA, Hircon Group

Currently the second tallest residential tower in the world, 23 Marina is extremely impressive with a massive 6 storey high entrance. The tower is big, bold and extremely luxurious with three levels of spas, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pools, lavish decks and each duplex in the tower is equipped with its own private elevator and its own plunge pool! Wow!

From The Developer:

Discover life beyond the ordinary existence known to man. Step up to 90 levels of luxury at 23 Marina. A waterfront world far above the mundane; where magnificence, opulence and convenience seamlessly blend to create an entirely new experience to living.



Princess Tower holds the record as the world's tallest residential tower making it a true architectural icon. It incorporates Arab eclectic design perfectly combining the traditional with the modern all in one spectacular tower.

From The Developer:

Princess Tower is the world's tallest residential building at 414m and 100 floors above ground! (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and Guinness World Records - May 2012)

Rising proud among the many Dubai wonders like Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah and the Palm Jumeirah, Princess Tower is surrounded by world renowned 5-star hotels, flourishing beach resorts, cosmopolitan restaurants, stylish bars and night clubs. Princess Tower offers the mixture of a dynamic and exciting lifestyle with the calm and serenity of living by the sea.


5.) GROSVENOR HOUSE & RESIDENCE, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

One of the most luxurious developments on Dubai Marina! Tower One is home to 217 deluxe rooms, suites and 205 apartment suites. Tower Two comprises of 106 premier rooms and suites, 216 residence apartments and 5 premier villas. Guests of both towers have access to facilities in each tower including an outstanding choice of 17 lavish restaurants, world renowned business and conference facilities, swimming pools and gyms, as well as the two uniquely different spas.

From The Developer:

Introducing the new Grosvenor House and its two iconic 45 storey towers, Tower One and Tower Two, each redefining the world of luxury.

Glittering against the skyline, the Grosvenor House stands majestically as a landmark of modern elegance and grandeur in the heart of Dubai Marina.

Boasting an ideal location close to the city centre within easy reach of business and leisure facilities, the hotel is an ideal base for exploring local attractions such as the Dubai Internet City and Media City, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Emirates Golf Club, Montgomerie Golf Club, and Mall of the Emirates.



The name says it all! Elite Residence is one of the finest residential addresses in Dubai, truly for the elite. The super-tall tower has over the top luxury including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym and health spa, ballroom, electronic game hall, concierge service and even a business center. A true Dubai Marina landmark development.

From The Developer:

Standing amongst prominent Dubai landmarks such as Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah, Elite Residence combines the best a modern city life has to offer, blending Dubai's energetic and dynamic buzz with the calm and tranquility of laidback living by the sea. Just moments away from the world's most luxurious hotels, exclusive clubs and high class shopping destinations, Elite Residence is centered in one of the most envied neighborhoods in Dubai.

Situated in the heart of one of the most renowned destinations in Dubai, Elite Residence is a spectacular new addition to the Marina's dazzling skyline, and one of its most sought after residential properties. Amongst the world's tallest buildings, Elite Residence reaches high above the exclusive Dubai Marina. The imposing 91-storey tower makes a statement of luxury living in a city that has it all.


7.) THE TORCH, Select Group

The Torch is a Dubai Marina monument and one of the tallest residential towers in the world. The tower has superlative design thanks to the architects Khatib & Alani as well as first class amenities. It is one of Dubai Marina's finest developments.

From The Developer:

The Torch is destined to become a defining landmark on the rapidly growing Dubai skyline. The Torch is the first freehold development fully conceived, project managed and promoted by the Select Group. With an impressive height of 351 meters, this residential super tower boasts 86 floors consisting of 658 apartments. Located in one of the much envied positions of Dubai Marina, this development possesses stunning views spanning the length of the marina itself across Jumeirah Beach and beyond.

Designed specifically by award winning architects Khatib & Alami to compliment this fantastic marina location, the development offers its residents luxurious amenities including 24 hour security, concierge desk and valet service.


8.) BAY CENTRAL, Select Group

A unique 3 tower development, Bay Central offers two residential towers and the third tower will be home to the Renaissance Dubai Marina Hotel. Bay Central is a very well rounded upscale development and one of Dubai Marina's best.

From The Developer:

Bay Central is one of the most iconic mixed use developments undertaken by Select Group. A focal point in itself, Bay Central occupies the foremost position in Dubai Marina. The presence of a five star hotel within the development ensures its title as “The Jewel of Dubai Marina.” Located in district 8 at plot V,W,X, this exclusive development of 3 towers will share a common podium. The West and Central Towers are residential while the East Tower is designed to be a five star hotel & apartments, each offering magnificent panoramic views.


9.) AL FATTAN MARINA TOWERS, Al Fattan Properties

Two of the most impressive towers in Dubai, one called the Al Fattan Tower and the other called Oasis Beach Tower. They look like something from the future with their cutting edge design. Great location with great views and first class amenities.

From The Developer:

The stunning and majestic Al Fattan Marina Towers stand 50 storeys high overlooking both the Arabian Gulf and the newly developed Dubai Marina lagoon inlet. Located in the heart of The Jumeriah Beach Residence development. The two kilometer strip of retail shops, international hotels, boat marina and beach clubs makes this development one of Al Fattan's most talked about and envied properties.


10.) SILVERENE TOWERS, Cayan Investment & Development

The Silverene Towers always look fantastic to me. They were built with a special proprietary interior treatment of glass and mirrors that reflect the blue waters of Dubai Marina and maximize the views on each floor of the development. Silverene offers top of the line Dubai Marina living.

From The Developer:

Designed by RMJM, one of the world’s top architects, this marvel of architecture offers 35 floors in Tower A and 26 floors in Tower B. Silverene is located in Dubai Marina, possibly the world’s most exclusive waterfront development, where a stylish, sophisticated lifestyle has been created to delight its residents. In between the new Marina Mall and Al Majara community, Silverene enjoys boat harbors in front of the towers and is only minutes away from one of the region's largest boat harbors.

Within the towers, you have a large swimming pool, a kids pool, sun deck, and a state-of-the-art gymnasium in each tower. Residents can indulge and enjoy the towers’ coffee shops, restaurants and retail outlets. And in each apartment, floor to ceiling windows give residents a panoramic visual treat. Fully equipped kitchen, high-end finishes and fittings enhance the cutting-edge design.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Park Towers at Dubai International Financial Centre

Park Towers, located in the Dubai International Financial Centre(DIFC), has to be one of the most beautiful and functional real estate developments ever built in Dubai. It is one of my personal favorites and in my November 27, 2011 post entitled 'My 12 Favorite Mega Projects For 2012' I chose Park Towers as one of the twelve. Park Towers has been developed by DAMAC, one of the leading developers of Dubai real estate, and designed by the architectural firm Gensler of San Francisco. DAMAC has developed some of Dubai's best real estate projects including: Ocean Heights, Business Tower, Emirates Gardens, Executive Heights, Marina Terrace and many others.


DIFC is a financial free zone aiming to position Dubai as a universally recognized hub for high finance. The mission of the DIFC is to be a catalyst for regional economic growth, development and diversification by functioning as a globally recognized regional financial centre akin to Wall Street in the USA, Hong Kong in Asia and London in Europe. DIFC is being developed as a city within a city and is an ideal location for a business and/or residence in Dubai.


A two tower mixed-use project in the heart of DIFC with a freehold facility for UAE nationals and expatriates, Park Towers is one of the most architecturally impressive properties in Dubai. Each tower is 49 storeys high, and offers exquisitely designed 1, 2 & 3 bedroom Dubai apartments.

Park Towers at DIFC offers panoramic views of the financial hub and provides for the ultimate in exclusivity and comfort. With a choice of 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments in various configurations, the residences at DIFC are bound to appeal to discerning tastes. The two towers are designed to provide a luxurious yet comfortable apartment - a masterpiece of contemporary architecture and distinct styling.

The intelligent design of the towers ensures that every apartment has a wide balcony offering the freedom to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the financial district, with its parks, caf├ęs and entertainment facilities.


~ State Of The Art Office Space Located on First 5 Floors of Each Tower
~ Temperature Controlled Pool
~ Tennis Court and Barbecue Area
~ Health Club and Gymnasium
~ Spacious Steam and Sauna Room
~ Jacuzzi
~ Banquet Hall
~ Meeting Rooms
~ Shopping Boulevard
~ Restaurants
~ Concierge Desk with 24-Hour Service
~ Professional Housekeeping
~ Individual Post Boxes
~ Secured Parking Bay for Residents
~ 24 Hour Security
~ Panoramic Views of Dubai

"Park Towers was designed with the corporate executive in mind. It is a high-end mixed-use development which was designed to allow its residents to live, work and play within the perimeter of the development, whilst being within walking distance of the Dubai International Financial Centre and all it has to offer" said Niall Mc Loughlin Senior Vice President of DAMAC.

Park Towers is such a superlative development that it received a total of three Arabian Property Awards in the categories of 'Best High Rise Architecture,' 'Best Mixed-Use Development,' and 'Best Commercial High Rise Development.' In addition, Park Towers received 'World’s Best' in the 'Best Mixed-Use Development' category at the prestigious International Property Awards in London!

Park Towers stands out to me as a shining example of Dubai real estate development at its best. As I have said before I believe that Dubai real estate is at the beginning of a new 5-10 year upward cycle, and projects like Park Towers will lead the way!

Here is a link to the Park Towers section of the DAMAC website:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Billionaires Of The Middle East - Arab Billionaire List

In this post I will cover the richest people in the Middle East, the Billionaires. These are the movers and shakers of the region and many of them are either directly or indirectly involved in the Mega Project real estate developments of the UAE and the entire MENA Region. Two very reliable sources were used for gathering the information in this post, ArabianBusiness.com and Forbes.com. You should note that the net worth of the Billionaires is always changing due to the ever changing economic climate of the world so the net worth given for each Billionaire is an estimate only. Also remember that there are still Billionaires in the Middle East that have not as yet been discovered. 


Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, $21.3 Bil

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, $18 Bil

Mohamed Al Jaber, $12.75 Bil

Olayan Family, $12.4 Bil

Issam Alzahid, $10.7 Bil

Mohammed Al Amoudi, $10.4 Bil

Bin Ladin Family, $7.25 Bil

Bugshan Family, $7 Bil

Al Juffali Family, $6.2 Bil

Tareq Abdullah Al Qahtani, $6.1 Bil

Sulaiman Al Rajhi, $5.95 Bil

Mohamed Abdul Latif Jameel, $5.3 Bil

Mubarak Al Suwaiket, $5 Bil

Naghi Family, $5 Bil

Abdullah Al Rushaid, $4.6 Bil

Mohammed Sharbatly, $4 Bil

Mohammad Jamjoom, $3.8 Bil

Abdullatif Al Fozan, $3.45 Bil

Abdullah Al Othaim, $3.35 Bil

Ahmed Baeshen, $3.3 Bil

Adel Aujan, $3.25 Bil

Saedan Family, $3.10 Bil

Abdulaziz Al Sulaiman, $3 Bil

Hussein Gazzaz, $2.8 Bil

Osama Abudawood, $2.75 Bil

Mohammed Elkhereiji, $2.6 Bil

Mansour Ojjey, $2.6 Bil

Al Zamil Family, $2.4 Bil


Bukhamseen Family, $7.25 Bil

Faisal Al Ayyar, $3.25 Bil

Bassam Alghanim, $1.6 Bil

Kutayba Alghanim, $1.6 Bil

Fawzi Al-Kharafi, $1.2 Bil

Jassim Al-Kharafi, $1.2 Bil

Mohannad Al-Kharafi, $1.2 Bil


Nassef Sawiris, $5.1 Bil

Naguib Sawiris, $3.1 Bil

Onsi Sawiris, $2.9 Bil

Mohammed Shafik Gabr, $2 Bil

Mohamed Mansour, $1.7 Bil

Yasseen Mansour, $1.6 Bil

Youssef Mansour, $1.5 Bil

Mohamed Al Fayed, $1.3 Bil


Sheikh Khailfa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, $15 Bil

Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, $6.1 Bil

Majid Al Futtaim, $5.8 Bil

Abdullah Al Futtaim, $5.2 Bil

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, $4.5 Bil

Gargash Family, $3.9 Bil

Saif Al Ghurair, $2 Bil


Saad Hariri, $3.8 Bil

Bahaa Hariri, $3.35 Bil

Ayman Hariri, $3.15 Bil

Najib Mikati, $3Bil

Taha Mikati, $3Bil

Fahd Hariri, $1.4 Bil


Omar Hamad Almana, $4.5 Bil

Alfardan Family, $3.42 Bil

Al Darwish Family, $2.55 Bil

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, $2.4 Bil


Said Khoury, $6.5 Bil

Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh, $2.4 Bil


Kanoo Family, $6 Bil


Shoman Family, $4.2 Bil


Wafic Said, $2.7 Bil


Al Sabah Family / Kuwait / estimate range: $350 Mil - $100 Bil

Al Habtoor Family / UAE / estimate range: $1.3 Bil - $2 Bil

Khashoggi Family / Saudi Arabia / estimate range: $500 Mil - $1.3 Bil

Sultan Qaboos bin Said / Oman / estimate range: $700 Mil - $1 Bil

~ Note that the estimates for the above 4 come from a variety of sources and I don't know how accurate they are. For example, the Al Sabah Family of Kuwait has a huge range of between $350 Mil and some sources say their wealth is as high as $90-$100 Bil.


I could find no evidence of there being any Billionaires in Iran or Iraq, but of course there could be some whose wealth is hidden. There are however a number of expat Iranian and Iraqi Billionaires including Nasser Khalili(Iran) and Nadhmi Auchi(Iraq).


Currently he is the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $73 Bil. Both of Mr. Helu's parents are Lebanese however Mr. Helu was born in Mexico, not Lebanon. Therefore he is not considered a Billionaire of the Middle East.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cityscape Qatar 2012

Qatar is booming with Mega Project real estate development! Qatar has so much going on in the real estate industry right now that Cityscape, developer of the largest real estate events in the region, created a real estate event specifically for Qatar: Cityscape Qatar 2012 which took place last month on May 23-25. It was a groundbreaking event for Qatar and what follows are some excerpts from press releases given at the event which will give you a better idea of what exactly went on:

'The exhibition featured more than 100 companies, including some of the biggest Qatari developers and investors along with other industry leaders, such as Barwa Group, Ezdan Real Estate, Al Wa’ab City, the United Development Company, Al Khaliji bank and Commercial Bank. Cityscape Qatar also welcomed major regional and international project management specialists and service providers. The exhibition was visited by more than 7,000 visitors over the three days.

'The inaugural Qatar Real Estate Summit, taking place alongside the exhibition, was a phenomenal success, attended by more than 250 delegates. The conference hosted insightful discussions from industry leaders about the strategies that will ensure Qatar’s successful growth under the 2030 Vision.

'High visitor numbers were complimented by strong international media attendance. Barwa Real Estate Group showcased a major announcement, inaugurating their latest community-oriented residential property, the Lusail Golf Residential Development. The project will cover an area measuring 3,659,736 square meters. Thirty-one per cent of the Lusail Golf Residential Development is allocated to residential areas and 69% to sports facilities and green areas, including a Greg Norman designed golf course.

'Ezdan Real Estate Company unveiled three unique new projects. Ezdan City in the al Wakair area will be built on an area of 964,422 square meters and includes a full service-integral city containing 200 residential buildings, as well as other services and facilities, including schools, malls, and sport clubs. Ezdan will also develop a top end Boutique Hotel on a 10,000 square meter site in the al Ghrafa area; and a new commercial market in al Wakair, built on a land area of 24,679 square meters, and with building space of 25,126 square meters.

'Reflecting on the success of both the exhibition and the Summit, Rohan Marwaha, Managing Director for Cityscape Group at Informa, said: “The opportunities in Qatar for everyone connected with the real estate business are limitless and exhibitors have told us their experience here has been excellent. For those based in Doha, and for those coming to see it for the first time, everyone has gained incredibly useful insight into how Qatar is growing and the relationships made at Cityscape Qatar will truly help to shape the future development of this country under its 2030 Vision,” he said.'

What follows is a partial list of the high level exhibitors that attended the event:

~ Al Khalij Commercial Bank

~ Al Waab City

~ Amar City Real Estate Properties

~ Arab Engineering Bureau

~ Barwa Real Estate Company

~ Bawabat Al Shamal Real Estate Company

~ CKR Consulting Engineers

~ Commercial Bank of Qatar

~ Dewan Architects & Engineers

~ Dlala Real Estate Co

~ Ezdan Real Estate Qatar

~ First Qatar Real Estate Development Company

~ Forbes Middle East Magazine

~ KEO International Consultants

~ Kings Land Global

~ LW Design Group LLC

~ MAF Investment Holding

~ Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development

~ Mirage International Property Consultant

~ P&T Architects and Engineers

~ Qatar Coral For Real Estate Development

~ Qatar National Bank

~ RSP Architects Planners & Engineers

~ S.S.Lootah Group

~ TIME Qatar

~ Top Real Estate Group

~ United Development Company

~ Zawya
Cityscape Qatar link:

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Mega Talls-- 50 Tallest Skyscrapers of the MENA Region

Some of the most impressive and spectacular Mega Projects of the UAE/GCC/MENA Region are the incredible Mega Tall skyscrapers. These skyscrapers are monuments to the growth and expansion of the Middle East. What follows are the 50 tallest skyscrapers of the MENA Region. The heights of each building are given in both meters (m) and feet (ft) followed by the number of floors and the completion date of the skyscraper. The UAE is by far the skyscraper leader, with most of the skyscrapers located in Dubai.

1. Burj Khalifa Dubai (UAE) 828 m 2717 ft 163 floors 2010

2. Al Hamra Firdous Tower Kuwait City (Kuwait) 413 m 1354 ft 80 floors 2011

3. 23 Marina Dubai (UAE) 393 m 1289 ft 90 floors 2012

4. Almas Tower Dubai (UAE) 360 m 1181 ft 68 floors 2008

5. Emirates Tower One Dubai (UAE) 355 m 1163 ft 54 floors 2000

6. The Torch Dubai (UAE) 337 m 1105 ft 79 floors 2011

7. Rose Rayhaan by Rotana Dubai (UAE) 333 m 1093 ft 71 floors 2007

8. The Index Dubai (UAE) 326 m 1070 ft 80 floors 2010

9. Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai (UAE) 321 m 1053 ft 60 floors 1999

10. HHHR Tower Dubai (UAE) 318 m 1042 ft 72 floors 2010

11. Ocean Heights Dubai (UAE) 310 m 1017 ft 83 floors 2010

12. Emirates Tower Two Dubai (UAE) 309 m 1014 ft 56 floors 2000

13. Etihad Towers T2 Abu Dhabi (UAE) 305 m 1002 ft 80 floors 2011

14. Kingdom Centre Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) 302 m 992 ft 41 floors 2002

15. The Address Dubai (UAE) 302 m 991 ft 63 floors 2008

16. Arraya Tower Kuwait City (Kuwait) 300 m 984 ft 60 floors 2009

17. Aspire Tower Doha (Qatar) 300 m 984 ft 36 floors 2007

18. Emirates Crown Dubai (UAE) 296 m 971 ft 63 floors 2008

19. Khalid Al Attar Tower 2 Dubai (UAE) 294 m 965 ft 66 floors 2011

20. Sky Tower Abu Dhabi (UAE) 292 m 959 ft 74 floors 2010

21. Millennium Tower Dubai (UAE) 285 m 935 ft 59 floors 2006

22. Sulafa Tower Dubai (UAE) 285 m 935 ft 75 floors 2010

23. Marina Pinnacle Dubai (UAE) 280 m 919 ft 73 floors 2011

24. Etihad Towers T1 Abu Dhabi (UAE) 278 m 911 ft 69 floors 2011

25. Hotel JAL Tower Dubai (UAE) 269 m 883 ft 60 floors 2010

26. 21st Century Tower Dubai (UAE) 269 m 883 ft 55 floors 2003

27. Al Faisaliah Center Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) 267m 876 ft 30 floors 2000

28. Al Kazim Tower 1 Dubai (UAE) 265 m 869 ft 53 floors 2008

29. Al Kazim Tower 2 Dubai (UAE) 265 m 869 ft 53 floors 2008

30. U-Bora Tower 1 Dubai (UAE) 263 m 862 ft 58 floors 2011

31. Etihad Towers T3 Abu Dhabi (UAE) 260 m 854 ft 60 floors 2011

32. Vision Tower Dubai (UAE) 260 m 853 ft 60 floors 2011

33. Dual Towers 1 Manama (Bahrain) 260 m 853 ft 53 floors 2007

34. Dual Towers 2 Manama (Bahrain) 260 m 853 ft 53 floors 2007

35. Al Marsa Tower Dubai (UAE) 254 m 833 ft 63 floors 2007

36. Al Fardan Residences Doha (Qatar) 253 m 831 ft 64 floors 2009

37. Chelsea Tower Dubai (UAE) 250 m 820 ft 49 floors 2005

38. Rolex Tower Dubai (UAE) 247 m 810 ft 59 floors 2010

39. Al Fattan Tower Dubai (UAE) 245 m 804 ft 51 floors 2006

40. Oasis Beach Tower Dubai (UAE) 245 m 804 ft 51floors 2006

41. Palm Tower 1 Doha (Qatar) 244 m 802 ft 58 floors 2011

42. Palm Tower 2 Doha (Qatar) 244 m 802 ft 57 floors 2011

43. Arenco Tower Dubai (UAE) 244 m 800 ft 46 floors 2008

44. The Tower Dubai (UAE) 243 m 796 ft 54 floors 2002

45. United Tower Kuwait City (Kuwait) 240 m 787 ft 60 floors 2011

46. Bahrain World Trade Center 1 Manama (Bahrain) 240 m 787 ft 45 floors 2008

47. Bahrain World Trade Center 2 Manama (Bahrain) 240 m 787 ft 45 floors 2008

48. Sun Tower Abu Dhabi (UAE) 238 m 779 ft 64 floors 2010

49. Burj Qatar Doha (Qatar) 236 m 773 ft 46 floors 2011

50. Churchill Residence Dubai (UAE) 235 m 771 ft 61 floors 2010

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dubai Is Coming Back!

I think the worst has passed for Dubai. I think the downtrend in the real estate market is finally over and we are at the beginning of a new five to ten year upward cycle. I am seeing more and more interest and investment in Dubai real estate. Mega Projects which had been put on hold are being started up again and new Mega Projects are being announced, the most recent being the underwater Discus Hotel.

What I will give you now are excerpts of recent articles relating to the positive direction of the Dubai real estate sector. Each excerpt has a link to the complete article which you can read at your leisure.


Khaleej Times:

Signaling the beginning of Dubai's property sector's long awaited revival, a leading master developer said on Tuesday that it would go ahead with all its mega projects that have been stalled or delayed amid the financial meltdown.

Dubai Properties Group, or DPG, a pioneering community developer, said it would complete all projects it had announced as it saw a reemergence of investor confidence restoring vibrancy in the property market.



Emirates 24/7:

A total of 291 projects are on hold in Dubai as of March 31, 2012 – but are likely to see the light of day.

Each of these 291 registered projects are likely to qualify for either the Tayseer or the Tanmia initiative, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) has stated in the planned sovereign bond prospectus.

This year, as per the prospectus, the Tanmia initiative is expected to include 33 projects, two of which have been launched. The initiative is designed to increase investor confidence in those projects, which the Dubai Land Department has identified as qualifying for the Tanmia program.



Dubai Chronicle:

Nakheel sold 21 townhouses for a total of Dh159 million in Palma Residences, Palm Jumeirah, on the first day of sales opening.

"We were just expecting people to come and gather information, but we managed to sell properties on day one itself," commented Nakheel's Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah.




Dubai's Emaar Properties, builder of the world's tallest tower, reported a 44 percent rise in first-quarter net operating profit on Saturday on increased property sales in Dubai and strong revenue from shopping malls business.

The UAE's largest developer by market value made a net operating profit of AED606m ($165m), compared to AED421m during the same period last year, it said in an emailed statement.




Dubai’s Nakheel has sold a 60,000 sq ft plot of land on its flagship development, the Palm Jumeirah, for AED87m (US$23.6m), the firm said Tuesday.

The sale of the land, opposite the Atlantis, The Palm hotel, is a sign of “renewed investor confidence in Dubai real estate,” the government-owned developer said in a statement.

“We have seen a very healthy demand in the first quarter of 2012, and this looks set to continue for the year,” a Nakheel spokesperson said.




“We (Nakheel) achieved profit of AED1.28bn (US$348.5m)… It has been a good year. We have been doing fantastic across the board, across all of our areas… It is a big sign of the recovery of the market,” he says.

“We see the demand for our properties increase and I can also assure you that 2012, from the early figures we have, is going to be even much better.”

That is partly because, according to Lootah himself, Nakheel has managed to slash contractors’ claims down to just fifteen percent. Within a few short years, Lootah has turned the company around and brought it through a painful restructuring process.



Chicago Tribune:

Dubai is all set to open newer horizons in the tourism and hospitality sector with a novel initiative to develop underwater hotels.

Drydocks World, the shipbuilding arm of Dubai World, said on Wednesday it has signed a deal with Big Invest Consult, a Swiss company, to develop underwater hotels and floating cities.

The hotel, featuring a discus-shaped residential underwater building connected to another discus above water, will be funded by BIG Invest. The project envisages "an ultimate leisure facility with a structure that is partly above water and the rest underneath -- a residential Underwater Discus with an Above Water Discus", the company said.




One of the latest developments at Palm Jumeirah is master developer Nakheel issuing a tender for infrastructure works on Frond ‘N’. It has invited suitably-qualified contractors, licensed by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, to bid for Tender No. N-006-4-60.

The project comprises: roads, parking, driveways and sidewalks; street lighting, stormwater drainage network; vacuum sewerage; ancillary control and monitoring system; irrigation water system and fire hydrants; utility road crossings: potable water system, electrical network; telecoms network and LPG gas house connections. The closing date for bids from interested contractors is 4 March.


++ I predict that over the next five years we will see a new real estate boom emerge in Dubai and that Dubai will once again be one of the most appealing locations in the world for real estate investment and development. Time will tell if I am correct or not.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012

Cityscape Abu Dhabi is one of the world's largest real estate events. It attracts the Mega Project developers giving them a chance to show their incredible projects to the entire world. In addition to the developers Cityscape Abu Dhabi attracts investors, architects, construction companies, the media and many others. According to Cityscape:

'Cityscape Abu Dhabi is the only annual meeting point for governmental authorities, key investors and developers, consultants, architects, designers and other real estate professionals to drive growth in Abu Dhabi’s real estate market.

'Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012 is where the future of Abu Dhabi’s master plan and key developments are being revealed. With over 25,000 participants in attendance, Cityscape Abu Dhabi is the opportunity to build and maintain your presence in Abu Dhabi’s real estate market.'

Yesterday was the final day of Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012 and here are some excerpts from a press release given by Cityscape which will give you a better idea of what went on there:

'Several major UAE based developers showcased their key developments to visiting investors and partners from more than 80 countries. Among them, Sorouh Real Estate launched its retail property brand Boutik, aimed at enhancing the lifestyle experience at some of its major developments. The Abu Dhabi based developer will open its first Boutik branded space in Sun and Sky Towers on Al Reem Island in June this year, hosting the first ever Waitrose supermarket in the UAE capital. In the second half of the year, Sorouh will also open the grade A shopping mall, Boutik Al Ain, home to a Carrefour hypermarket.

'Gurjit Singh, Chief Operations Officer at Sorouh said: “Cityscape Abu Dhabi continues to be the most important real estate exhibition in the MENA region, and we continue to support this annual gathering to demonstrate our commitment to Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 and the long-term vision for the economic development of the emirate.”

'Baniyas Investment and Development Company (BIDC) showcased its award winning development, Bawabat Al Sharq project, in Bani Yas city. The investment and development arm of the Bani Yas Club had a busy year in 2011, when they launched the luxurious Andalucian style villas on Bawabat Al Sharq. The distinct three, four, and five bedroom villas were the focal point of BIDC’s exhibition stand at Cityscape Abu Dhabi this year, and will begin to be handed over to owners by the end of 2013.

“Cityscape Abu Dhabi is the most important real estate show in Abu Dhabi, providing a unique platform to learn of the latest market updates of the regional real estate industry,” said Wael El Ashry, Commercial Vice President at Baniyas Investment and Development Company.

'Under the patronage of H.H General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Cityscape Abu Dhabi is the annual barometer for the Abu Dhabi and wider GCC real estate market, where thousands of investors gather to learn about the latest market trends and updates of many of Abu Dhabi’s master developments.

'Other major developers taking part this year at Cityscape Abu Dhabi included the Urban Planning Council, Department of Municipal Affairs, Tamouh Investments, Meraas, Aldar Properties, Aabar Properties, Mubadala, Al Maabar, Eshraq Properties, Bloom Properties, Reem Investments, and the Tourism Development & Investment Company.'

Now I want to give you a good idea of the full scope of Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012. What follows are some of the high level exhibitors at the event:

-- Aabar Properties LLC United Arab Emirates

-- Abu Dhabi Commercial Properties LLC United Arab Emirates

-- Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council United Arab Emirates

-- Aldar Properties PJSC United Arab Emirates

-- Allabina LCE architects United Kingdom

-- Al Maabar United Arab Emirates

-- Al Torath Engineering Consultants United Arab Emirates

-- Arabtec Eastern Model United Arab Emirates

-- Aseel Finance United Arab Emirates

-- Baniyas Investment & Development United Arab Emirates

-- Bloom Properties United Arab Emirates

-- Buettner Architects & Engineers United Arab Emirates

-- BuildUp SA – Real Estate Development And Investment Greece

-- Capital Alternatives Limited United Arab Emirates

-- Dewan Architects & Engineers United Arab Emirates

-- Dewa Projects Private Limited United Arab Emirates

-- Dhafir Development & Contracting LLC United Arab Emirates

-- Ehaf Consulting Engineers United Arab Emirates

-- Ehrlich Architects United States of America

-- Elysian Investments United Arab Emirates

-- Eshraq Properties Co (PJSC) United Arab Emirates

-- Fargain Developments United Kingdom

-- Forbes Middle East United Arab Emirates

-- Green Valley Real Estate United Arab Emirates

-- Gulf Property United Arab Emirates

-- Herald Land Real Estate Brokers LLC United Arab Emirates

-- International Capital Trading United Arab Emirates

-- KEO International Consultants United Arab Emirates

-- Kling Engineering Consultant LLC United Arab Emirates

-- Manazel Real Estate United Arab Emirates

-- Meraas Development United Arab Emirates

-- Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality (MREH) United Arab Emirates

-- NAGA Architects, Designers & Planners United Arab Emirates

-- Nationwide Middle East Properties United Arab Emirates

-- Paragon Malls United Arab Emirates

-- Pioneer International Projects Management United Arab Emirates

-- Reem Investments United Arab Emirates

-- Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme United Arab Emirates

-- Smart Solutions Consulting Engineers (SSCE) United Arab Emirates

-- Sorouh Real Estate P.J.S.C United Arab Emirates

-- Stanly for Investment and Real Estate Development Egypt

-- Tamouh Investments United Arab Emirates

-- Three60 Estates Management United Arab Emirates

-- Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) United Arab Emirates

-- Turner Construction - International LLC United Arab Emirates

-- Ventures Middle East United Arab Emirates

-- Wafra Real Estate Kuwait

As you can see Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012 was a truly first class event and one that could not be missed by those involved in the Mega Project industry. Here is a link to the Cityscape Abu Dhabi website where you can take an even closer look at all that went on there:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Mega Developers: ENSHAA

In this Mega Developer post I will cover ENSHAA, a leading developer in the UAE. ENSHAA has a number of first class projects in their portfolio and the company is doing a great job developing projects of the highest quality and design.


Inspired by a vision to contribute to the sustainable development of the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding regions, ENSHAA was established to develop premium quality commercial, residential and hospitality projects. The firm's major shareholders include Emirates Investments Group, Majid Al Futtaim Group and Abraaj Capital.

ENSHAA currently operates in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Australia through an expanding portfolio of carefully conceived projects. The company has formed a number of successful joint venture partnerships with prestigious local and foreign companies. ENSHAA's portfolio includes Palazzo Versace Dubai, D1 residential tower and Emirates Financial Towers. ENSHAA is a major shareholder of Dubai based Kele Contracting LLC, in partnership with Australian affiliate Kele International Holdings. ENSHAA's acquisition of Signature Clubs International in November 2009 highlights its strategic focus on quality branded products and further expansion into the hospitality industry.


Much has happened in the region in the past couple of years. Certain sectors have been hit hard by the global economic downturn, while some have prospered as a result. What we can see now, however, is a real resurgence. Dubai's largest firms - the ones with the governance and strategic planning in place to have weathered the crisis - are rebounding strongly, pushing the market in a positive direction. And beyond the UAE, regional successes are buttressing the reputation of the region: the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, and the countless extraordinary Saudi infrastructure projects are all combining to keep our region at the forefront of overseas investors' minds.

There will be good times ahead and - as everywhere - some bad ones too. Key to thriving is having the people and practices in place to be able to function in the hard times as well as the easy. We are confident that the past year has been well used, with a prudent and patient approach which will - literally as well as figuratively "pay dividends".

As we enter the next exciting period of growth, ENSHAA is confident of being exceptionally well placed to capitalize on opportunities, and to show that this region and ENSHAA are capable of anything.

- Sheikh Tariq Bin Faisal Al Qassimi, Chairman


> EMIRATES FINANCIAL TOWERS. This development is a 27-story commercial twin tower development, located in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) featuring premium office and retail spaces, restaurants and business meeting venues. The Emirates Financial Towers with world class facilities also boasts views of the Emirates Towers and the Burj Khalifa. With the largest automated intelligent car parking system in the world, a distinct glass sky-bridge, high speed elevators and within close proximity to the metro, the Emirates Financial Towers is a prestigious business destination as well as a valuable addition to the already impressive Dubai skyline. Office units range in size from just over 6,00 sq. ft. to just under 10,000 sq. ft. (net) with flexible design, offering shared facilities and provisions for private office amenities. Emirates Financial Towers is a joint venture project between ENSHAA and MAG Group.

> PALAZZO VERSACE DUBAI. The Palazzo Versace Dubai Resort and Condominiums is a landmark project and will be located within Culture Village on the Dubai Creek, a premium waterfront location with unobstructed views of the creek. The residential wings of Ala Destra and Ala Sinistra will offer 169 luxury condominiums ranging from one to six bedrooms with access to the hotel's services. The hotel will comprise a day spa, restaurants and 217 hotel suites furnished with an exclusive line of products from the Versace Home Collection. Palazzo Versace takes the beauty, the luxury and the opulence for which the Versace name is famous and envelopes residents and guests in an ambience that is pure Versace. A project fully owned and developed by ENSHAA.

> D1 TOWER. D1's dramatic design fuses rich Middle Eastern heritage with today's technology, quality and modernity. A stunning 80-story tower, D1 offers exclusive residents' facilities, including a Skyrise lounge, private cinema, indoor pool, gymnasium and concierge services. D1 is uniquely positioned adjacent to the majestic Palazzo Versace Dubai. D1 Tower is a project fully owned and developed by ENSHAA.


-- Sheikh Tariq Bin Faisal Al Qassimi, Chairman

-- Raza Jafar, Chief Executive Officer

-- Gerard Carroll, Chief Operating Officer

-- Brian Woodside, Chief Financial Officer

-- Colin Seow, Chief Development Officer

-- Eli Hyder, Chief Legal Officer

-- Ashok Gopinath, Director of Finance

I am very impressed by the ENSHAA projects and I think the company has a very positive future.


Crescent Tower Al Buheirah Corniche, 1st floor
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Tel: + 971 (6) 5566 827
Fax: + 971 (6) 5566 829
E-mail: info@enshaa.ae
Web: http://www.enshaa.ae/

Dubai Office:
Capricorn Tower, 8th floor, Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: + 971 (4) 3329 330
Fax: + 971 (4) 3320 225

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Palm Jumeirah Projects Update

Palm Jumeirah is one of the greatest Mega Projects in world history. I place it right up there with the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It is a true wonder of the world. There are many projects being developed on Palm Jumeirah and in this post I want to update ALL of them so you will know exactly what is going on at Palm Jumeirah. The format will be simple and direct. I will list the project and beside the project I will list what stage of development it is in, either:

-- Completed
-- Topped Out
-- Under Construction
-- Approved
-- Planned
-- On Hold
-- Cancelled

I will try to be as accurate as possible but please remember that Dubai real estate changes constantly and the status of a project can thus change on a moments notice. Furthermore, new projects for the island can be announced at any time.

Here we go:

> Fairmont Palm Residences, Topped Out

> Sea View Club, Approved

> The Pointe Mall, Approved

> Jumeirah Al Fattan Resort, Topped Out

> Logo Islands, Planned

> Palm Jumeirah Sofitel Resort, Under Construction

> Emerald Palace Residences, Topped Out

> Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, Planned

> Dusit Hotels and Resorts, Planned

> Movenpick Resort and Spa Palm Jumeirah, Topped Out

> Taj Exotica and Grandeur Residences, Topped Out

> Kingdom of Sheba, Under Construction

> Royal Amwaj Hotel, Topped Out

> The Village Center, On Hold

> The Golden Mile, Completed

> One and Only Resort, Completed

> Atlantis The Palm, Completed

> Shoreline Apartments, Completed

> Oceana Hotel and Luxury Apartments, Completed

> Zabeel Saray Hotel and Royal Residences, Completed

> Trump International Hotel and Tower, Cancelled

> Rixos Hotel, Completed

> The Gateway Towers, Cancelled

> Wellington International School, Approved

> Tiara Residences, Completed

> Kempinski Hotel and Residences, Completed

You should now have a good well rounded idea of what is going on at Palm Jumeirah, one of my favorite Mega Projects!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Construction Week Power 100 Top 25

Construction Week magazine is a great publication that covers the construction industry and real estate developments of the Middle East. They publish a Power List that gives the 100 most powerful and influential people (in their opinion) in the industry. I will now give you the Top 25 on their list of 100 so you can get a better idea of who exactly are some of the top players in the Mega Project industry in the Middle East.

1. Ayman Hariri, Deputy General Manager, Saudi Oger

2. Bakr Bin Laden, Chairman, Saudi Bin Laden Group

3. Riad Kamal, Chairman and Founder, Arabtec Construction LLC and CEO of Arabtec Holding

4. Mohammed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties

5. Zuhair Hamed Fayez, Principal Founder, ZFP Consultants

6. Mohamed Ali M.K. Kubaisi, Board Manager, MIDMAC

7. Nasser Ali Al-Mawlawi, President, Ashghal

8. Hassan Al Thawadi, CEO, Qatar World Cup Bid

9. Fatima Obaid Al Jaber, Chief Operating Officer, Al Jaber Group

10. Ali Al-Khodari, Chairman, Abdullah A.M. Al-Khodari & Sons

11. Osama Hadid, Managing Director, Al Jaber Engineering

12. Said T. Khoury, Chairman and President, Consolidated Contractors Company

13. Khaled Musaed Al Seif, Chairman, El Seif Engineering Contracting

14. Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al-Shaya, Chairman and Managing Director, Mabanee Company

15. Khater Massaad, CEO and Founder, RAK Ceramics

16. Dr. P. Mohamed Ali, Founder, Galfar Engineering and Contracting Company

17. Khaldoun Tabari, Vice Chairman and CEO, Drake & Skull International

18. Mustafa Sani Sener, Board Member, President and CEO, TAV Airports Holding

19. Noor Sweid, Strategic Director, DEPA

20. Andrew Elias, CEO, KELE Contracting

21. Phillipe Dessoy, General Manager, BESIX

22. Nasser Abdul Rahman Kamal, CEO, Qatar Project Management

23. Ali Hassan Kolaghassi, CEO, Saraya Holding

24. Khalid Al Malik, Group CEO, Dubai Properties Group

25. Wael Allan, Regional Managing Director, Hyder Consulting Middle East

Blog Archive