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Dubai builders dust shelved plans off

Dubai builders announce new projects

Developer Nakheel, whose extravagant projects helped trigger Dubai's 2009 debt crisis and which has written off about $21 billion from its portfolio since the crash, pitched its third new project this year.

October 3, 2012 4:28 by

Developers unveiled billion-dollar projects and new high-end residential developments at Dubai’s Cityscape property show this week, as optimism returned to the emirate’s battered real estate sector.

Companies at the glitzy annual property event revived extravagant projects shelved in the aftermath of the market bust, including the Taj Arabia complex, a $1-billion replica of India’s Taj Mahal that includes a 300-room hotel.

“I don’t see why there will be no demand,” said Arun Mehra, a director at builder Link Global. “The Taj is made as a monument of love and we hope to promote this in Dubai as a major wedding destination.”

The mood at the exhibition, which attracts property developers and investors from around the region, is at its most upbeat since 2008, just before a bubble in Dubai’s real estate market burst and sent prices plunging 60 percent.

The emirate has restructured billions in debt since 2009 and seen its trade and tourism sectors benefit from its safe-haven status during the Arab Spring political unrest in the region.

But while the property sector has recovered in pockets of the city with prices rising, the market is still grappling with a glut of oversupply.

“We see a momentum and the market is improving. Developers are more wise now and banks are much more mature,” said Mohammed al-Shaibani, the deputy chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee who was tasked with resolving the emirate’s debt mess.

Among projects launched at Cityscape was the Meydan Tower, the largest new project by a Dubai developer since the property market collapsed four years ago. The tower is part of state-owned Meydan’s ongoing $3.8 billion residential development project, which includes man-made canals, lagoons and horse-riding trails, and will be financed through pre-sales.

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