Saturday, March 25, 2017

GULF NOTES, the week ending 13 june 2009

June 17 2009

Developers of the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, announced a “soft opening” for this September. Nakheel pushed back construction commencement for its 1km-high tower, this time to June, 2010. Saudi British Bank readdressed its forecasts for GCC countries, seeing optimism in rising oil prices. Standard Chartered Bank saw residential property prices rising between 5-30% in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. UBS reiterated its prediction that Dubai residential property will bottom at around 40% below current levels and added that the percentage of vacant properties in Dubai could double to about a third by the end of 2010. Deutsche Bank reported that in order to stabilize the UAE real estate market, developers would have to collect about $10.34 billion, which the bank found “challenging.” In contrast to recent positive reports about Qatar’s housing market, a new consultancy report questioned this; Qatar’s “booming economy” has not attracted such large inflows of expatriate professionals.

Dubai’s luxury hotelier Jumeirah boasted occupancy rates of over 90% for its beachside resorts as a result of promotional campaigns. Mega project Dubai Pearl’s developers released that no more than 20% of residential units and 50% of the commercial space have been sold. The New York Times insinuated the fall of Abu Dhabi’s self-assured developer/tv-star Sheikh Sulaiman al-Fahim as he faces difficulties in realizing major projects. Abu Dhabi developer Aldar opened The Yas Hotel designed by Asymptote Architecture. A local paper published an articled titled “Returning from fantasy land,” wherein several architects interviewed said the region would move away from “bigger and brasher” projects. Dubai-based Arabtec won the $500 million contract to build the twin Lamar Towers in Jeddah.

Porsche was in negotiations to sell up to 25% of its holdings to the state of Qatar. Oman closed the “biggest deal of the year” in Middle East property investments in London with the $703 million stake in the Bishops Square development. GCC states have already allocated $3.2 billion of the pledged $3.5 billion to execute development projects in Yemen.

News was revealed that 70 acres of Bahrain’s decommissioned port will be reactivated by a proposed expansion of the US Navy. Qatar unveiled a plan for “several green oases,” parks and playgrounds with no particular time frame. An Abu Dhabi neighborhood began a $5 million pilot program of high-tech underground garbage compactors, an effort to reduce outdoor odors and the city’s high per capita waste rate. Abu Dhabi invited nominations for the 2009 $1.5 million Zayed Future Energy Prize. A conference in Dammam signaled a growing interest in the privatization of Saudi Arabia’s water distribution and resources. Dubai transit officials started testing routes for the 778 buses commissioned to support the new rail system and signaled the possibility to privatize the entire 2,100-vehicle bus service.

Five thousand workers employed by Sharjah-based Al Hamad Contracting ended a one-day strike in Bahrain after receiving one of several months’ delinquent payments. Fifty of the 150 Filipinos domestic workers camped in the Philippines embassy’s shelter in Kuwait were to be repatriated. The International Labor Organization criticized Kuwait for: its reluctance to resolve alleged abuse cases of expatriate workers, the Cabinet’s ban on public gatherings, and its unwillingness to resolve the issue of the stateless bedoons. With Decision No. 13, the UAE cabinet enacted standards for workers’ housing; employers are responsible to provide workers’ accommodation commensurate with international labor standards. Standards include land use codes, such as capping on-site building coverage at 65% and setting aside space for “entertainment, parking, yards, walkways and green spaces.”

A Saudi village with only a few televisions celebrated Obama’s Cairo address with a camel being named Barack Obama. The first movie in thirty years was screened in Riyadh, despite disruption from fifteen audience members. The director made known his 20-year-plan for cinema in Saudi Arabia: screening of only Saudi films for the first ten years; screening of only Gulf films for the following seven years; and only Arab films in the final three years.

Arabian Business, June 11, 2009 / Construction Weekly, June 8, 2009 / 3 The National, June 11, 2009 / Zawya.com, June 9, 2009 / Arabian Business June 11, 2009 / The National, June 11, 2009 / Landmark Advisory Q209 Qatar Real Estate Report / Arabian Business, June 8, 2009 / New York Times, June 10, 2009 / The National, June 8, 2009 / The National, June 11, 2009 / Business 24/7, June 9, 2009 / Arabian Business, June 11, 2009 / Arab News, June 8, 2009 / Gulf Daily News June 8, 2009 / The Peninsula, June 11, 2009 / The National, June 8, 2009 / Arab News, June 9, 2009 / The National, June 9, 2009 / The National, June 11, 2009 / Kuwait Times, June 8, 2009 / Kuwait Times, June 10, 2009 / Zawya.com June 8, 2009; Arabian Business June 8, 2009 / Arab News, June 8, 2009 / Arab News, June 8, 2009.

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