Cityscape in quotes
Kipp spins the key quotes on the second day of the massive Dubai expo.
October 7, 2008 10:43 by kippreport
First up, Gulf News plays the “vision” card when writing about Jumeirah Gardens, the $100 billion plan for the Satwa district:
“… Dubai is determined to continue with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The development will redefine living in one of the most popular neighbourhoods of Dubai, currently undergoing demolition to pave the way for the new project.”
(Kipp’s spin: Make no mistake. This is a gentrification plan that involves knocking down another of Dubai’s historic neighbourhoods, and the government is keen to dampen any controversy over it. Note that the above passage comes verbatim from the text of the so-called “news” coverage, not from a source quoted in the article. With Abu Dhabi rival The National taking on the idea that Dubai is the epicentre of the universe, sentences like these suggest Gulf News is responding not by upping its game but by retreating into Dubai-government mouthpiece mode.)
“Half the size of Central Park.” – Sina al Kazim, chief executive of Meraas Development, the Dubai government-owned entity responsible for tearing down rough-and-ready Satwa and rebuilding it as a 21st-century metropolis, describes the planned park in Jumeirah Gardens.
(Kipp’s spin: We had to read that twice. Is Kazim actually suggesting right off the bat that something in Dubai won’t be a global superlative? Impressive. What next –a huge skyscraper at the development’s center that will be somewhat smaller than the world’s tallest? Yes, in fact. They’re doing that too. Amazing.)
“We do not expect the demand-supply dynamic in Dubai to shift from a position of excess demand to one of excess supply until 2010 at the earliest due to development delays and measures by the Dubai Government to prevent cohabiting.” – Rami Tawfiq, research manager at Colliers International.
(Kipp’s spin: We touched on this before, suggesting that Dubai’s crackdown on single people and multiple families occupying a single residential unit – a filthy practice, we know, but apparently it actually happens here – might have motives that are more economic than hygienic or social. Here, one of the leading real estate consultancies confirms the crackdown will help prevent an oversupply.)
“We are concerned about developer bias toward the high- end residential segment, when demand for housing from the middle-income segment is most acute.” – also from the latest Colliers report.
(Kipp’s spin: So far, the message from Cityscape has been obscured by the audaciousness of Nakheel’s announcement of another of the world’s tallest towers in the face of a global economic meltdown. Perhaps this quote captures the real upshot: Luxury is out. Middle-class residential is in.)
“There is a lot of liquidity in the market, whether corporate, private or institutional investors.” – Kazim, the Meraas CEO, talking to Reuters.
(Kipp’s spin: If there’s so much liquidity, how come we keep hearing about a liquidity squeeze that was so acute the UAE central bank had to inject Dh50bn ($13.6bn) into the market to help out local banks last month? The quick answer is that, yes, there a lot of money out there, but borrowing is also out of control. It’s a chicken-and-egg quandary. Which comes first, excess spending or excess cash? )
“People are selling stocks and property is the alternative. It’s a safe haven.” – Andrew Chambers, managing director of Asteco.
(Kipp’s spin: That seriously smacks of wishful thinking.)
“They are not coming from climates economically affected [by the credit crisis in the West]. They are coming from emerging economies such as Russia, Iran and India, which account for 80 percent of the interest so far.” – Soheil Abedian, founder of Sunland Group, speaking of investors in the Dh6bn ($1.63bn) Atrium at Jebel Ali.
(Kipp’s spin: The fact that Russian billionaires are investing in Dubai doesn’t necessarily mean Dubai is a good investment, but this quote gives a good indication of where a lot of the emirate’s future development cash is going to come from.)