Tag Archives: news of the world

Emaar’s new Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour unveiled

Finally it has been made official. Emaar Properties, one of the most appreciated developers in Dubai with several successful projects already completed like The Greens, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the whole Downtown neighborhood, is going to beat his own records.  After having developed the current tallest building in the world, it has recently unveiled what could be the world’s new tallest tower.

Even though the official height still has to be disclosed, Emaar management has confirmed that it will be a “notch taller than Burj Khalifa” that with its 828 meters mesmerizes thousands and thousands of visitors every day.

The tower is expected to cost 1 billion USD and will face competition from the 1,000 meter high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah (KSA), currently under construction, for the “tallest building in the world” title.

The tower was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who has designed masterpieces of architecture like the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro or Athen’s Olympic Sports Complex, and was inspired by the Islamic minaret structure as well as a lily bud.

Emaar New Creek Tower

“Inspired by a Nation. designed for the World” is Emaar motto for the challenging Project – Photos from Emaar website.

The tower is going to be built as part of a wider Project knows as Dubai Creek Harbour, a mixed use development located in proximity to Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and its flamingos and many species of waterbirds.

The aim of the 6 sq km development was very well explained by Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties:

“With The Tower, we are delivering a compelling destination that will add long-term economic value to Dubai and the UAE. It will also position Dubai Creek Harbour as one of the most desired residential, leisure and touristic attractions, providing visitors and residents with a modern, luxurious and sustainable environment in which to live, work, learn and entertain.”

The Tower and the Project are presented in the recently released videos prepared by Emaar.

 

The sky is the limit.

 

Construction news: more than 390 billion USD projects ongoing in Dubai

The total value of projects under construction in Dubai equates to $53.6 billion, with a further $337.2 billion in the planning stage.  These are significant amounts of investment for most mature economies, but for an emerging market such as Dubai, they are extraordinary figures which provide evidence of Dubai’s ambition to diversify its economy away from oil-centered revenues. In this way we can summarize the new report “The Dubai Construction Pulse” published by Deloitte and MEED Projects, which analyses the construction market across a range of sectors.

Analyzing the data provided in the report, it is evident that the majority of the construction projects currently ongoing in the Emirate are related to residential and hospitality sectors with a 60% of the total value involved while 65% of the planned projects fall within the mixed use developments, most probably because of the EXPO 2020’s requirements.

Dubai Construction Projects Status

“Despite regional security concerns and wider macro-economic turbulence, Dubai continues at pace with significant project awards in Q1 2016, including the Palm Gateway Towers, Phase II of the Atlantis Resort and Dubai Creek Harbour to name but three”, said Ben Hughes, director at Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited, regulated by the Dubai International Financial Center.

Previously stalled projects have been resurrected, but new project awards have reduced since 2014-2015 as a result of regional economic uncertainty

The conclusions of the report are particularly interesting and are here below summirized.

“The current concerns relating to low oil prices and diminished market sentiment has clearly had a short term impact. Whilst the ongoing geo-political factors equally have profound effects, the fact that many Governments across the region, not least the Government of Dubai, are continuing to spend on infrastructure and other strategic developments suggests that they foresee the oil price issue and political turmoil as a temporary one.

[…] The mere action of building a project and expecting the demand to be there no longer applies, as the fundamental cost basis for these projects remains volatile and competitive. Focusing on factors such as affordability, differentiation and quality are going to be increasingly important factors, and it is hoped that such considerations will ultimately underpin the rationale for conceiving projects.

Simply constructing the tallest or most unique project no longer provides the impact it once did, so diversifying the offer by promoting a world class standard appears to be the mantra moving forwards.

[…] What is interesting is the connectedness of Dubai as an increasingly “smart city”, and […]  Dubai may even mature to the extent that it could surpass some of the more established cities across the world, such as London, Paris or New York, in terms of its level of sophistication and dedication to sustainability, smart city principles and ultimately success in delivering projects that are demand driven and profitable.”

Other than on “The Dubai Construction Pulse” website by Deloitte, the matter has been analyzed and reported by well done articles published on SaudiGazzette and Gulf Construction Online.

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UAE to implement 5 per cent VAT from January 2018

As already anticipated many times in this blog, the UAE will implement value added tax (VAT) at the rate of five per cent from January 1, 2018, said Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

Al Tayer made the announcement on Wednesday while speaking to reporters after a joint press conference with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF in Dubai.

GCC countries have recently agreed they will introduce VAT at a rate of five per cent in 2018. The framework agreement on the implementation of VAT across the GCC is expected in June this year.

“Once the framework agreement on implementation of VAT is reached, GCC countries have time from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019 to implement VAT,” said Al Tayer.

The minister said each country has the flexibility to introduce VAT within this time frame. “A lot of ground work needs to be done before implementing VAT. The private sector will need time to prepare for complying with tax rules that is the reason we are giving enough time for all,” said Al Tayer.

The UAE will impose 5 per cent VAT while exempting 100 food items, bicycles, healthcare and education. In the first year, the country is expected to generate Dh12 billion from tax revenue.

GCC countries have decided to implement taxation as part of governments efforts to diversify revenues in the context of sharp decline in oil prices.

The news has been reported by several newspaper including GulfNews.

“I will go on TV naked and resign if . . . “

Before revealing who made this bold statement to the press recently, we shall understand the current situation in the Real Estate market in the United Arab Emirates and Dubai in particular.

As we all know, the oil price has dropped by more than 50% in one year affecting not only the oil giants that had to slash investments and cut jobs but also the oil exporting Countries that registered a huge public deficit in 2015. According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia, one of the world leaders in terms of oil production and export, has accumulated a 98 billion dollars deficit (19.5% of GDP circa) during the past year.

The fiscal deficit has been covered, in most cases, by selling assets owned by sovereign wealth funds as reported by The National, with Saudi Arabia expected to have sold 70 billion USD worth of assets and Kuwait 30 billion USD. The position of the UAE seems to be much better thanks to the diversified economy that is less depending on oil revenues and its stash of wealth that amount to a staggering 275% of the GDP.

In a persisting low oil phase, however, the GCC countries have also initiate issuing new bonds and actively using the liquidity deposited in the local bank system to plug the accruing deficits. The occasion is also favorable to introduce the VAT, as already anticipated by this blog months ago, that is supposed to be operative from 2018 as reported by Emirates24/7 and to implement subsidies cuts to water, energy and fuel as lastly happened in Saudi Arabia where the fuel price jumped by 50% as reported by SaudiGazzette.

In this context of reduced spending power, it seems inevitable that some of the projects currently going on could be affected as stated by Alan Robertson, CEO of JLL MENA, and reported by ArabianBusiness.

dubai Real Estate troubles

He said: “2016 is expected to see more challenging conditions in the UAE real estate market as we begin to feel the impact of the continuing fall in oil prices and ongoing geopolitical tensions leading to reduced liquidity and pressure on government budgets“.

Of course the wars in Yemen and Syria are destabilizing the area and contributing in the creation of additional factors of anxiety for many investors.

The media started talking about liquidity problems affecting the completion of the projects and about oversupply that was pushing down the prices like the one published by GulfBusiness, discouraging the developer to complete their projects. The news flow had a worldwide echo and articles started popping in all major newspapers.

It is at this point that Mr. Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director of DAMAC Properties, made the bold statement to the Sunday Times that he will “go on TV naked and resign” if the worst predictions about Dubai’s property market are realized this year as reported by ArabianBusiness.

Damac Chief

Bold statement supported by the expert absolute certainty of the strong and healthy status of the Real Estate field in the Emirates.

Press Review: GCC newspapers on Paris’ Terrorist Attacks

King Salman condolences

King Salman of Saudi Arabia offered condolences to French President. The Crown Prince said: “With grief and sadness, I received the news of terrorist attacks in the city of Paris. I express my condemnation on these criminal acts which are condemned by all divine religions and international norms and conventions. I also offer condolences to your Excellency, the friendly people of France and the families of the victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.” from Saudi Gazzette.com

Sheikh Khalifa condemns heinous terrorist attack

Strong condemnation of the heinous Paris attacks came from Sheik Khalifa, President of UAE. “No grey areas in the UAE’s view on terrorism” affirmed the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on The National.

Oman Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Paris

The terrorist attacks were described as ‘utterly deplorable’ by Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman reports Times of Oman.

Qatar Condemns deadly attacks

Qatar Condemns Paris and Beirut attacks as reported by DohaNews.com

Dubai’s Princess Haya receives Italian Giglio d’Oro Award for humanitarian work

“For her contributions in the humanitarian field, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received the prestigious 2015 Giglio d’Oro Award on Friday, in a ceremony held in Florence, Italy.”

Princess Haya at the Italian Award Ceremony

Princess Haya bint al Hussein at the Award ceremony as reported by  ‘La Nazione‘ an Italian Newspaper.

This is the beginning of the article published by Gulfnews about the prestigious acknowledgement that the Galileo foundation in Florence gave to Princess Haya for her contributions to global humanitarian causes. In her role as a UN Messenger of Peace, she is dedicated to helping raise global awareness of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The chairwoman of the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, she is a former World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador Against Hunger.

In her acceptance speech, Princess Haya paid tribute to Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai: “The recipient should have been my husband… without his loving support and generosity, I would not have been able to do nearly so much.”

Princess Haya receiving the Award

Princess Haya receives the Award from Mr. Nardella, Mayor of Florence.

‘The Frame’ and ‘Dubai Eye’ work progress disclosed!

Two of the most iconic Projects that will characterize Dubai’s future landscape and are deemed to attract many millions tourists are proceeding well and their completion date seems closer and closer.

From my office’s window I have a beautiful view of downtown and ‘The Frame’ and for this reason I was able to monitor the progress of the works constantly. After weeks of activity on the pillars, finally the main contractor completed the frame and started working on the finishing. ‘The Frame’ Project has an estimated cost of almost 44 million USD and is expected to attract 2 million visitors per year.

The Frame - Dubai - Progress

‘The Frame’ Project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016

The other sensational Project that is progressing at an incredible quick pace is Dubai Eye, the ferris wheel that is being constructed in front of Jumeirah Beach Residence on an artificial island. The works  have recently reached a good point and the skeleton of the supporting structure of the wheel is now easily recognizable.

Dubai Eye in Progress

Dubai Eye Project Progress as of end of October