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Get real, Part I

Get real, Part I

With the grinding halt of the real estate rollercoaster, exhilaration at the prospect of a ‘fast buck’ is over. What’s next for the industry? Part I.

October 27, 2009 3:15 by

Victor Orth has seen it all during his four-year stint in the Gulf. But it’s his experience facing the real estate slump of the past six months that he’ll never forget.

Orth, an architect by training, came to Dubai as a consultant back when the economic steamroller that was the real estate market here was barreling ahead at full throttle. Like most people in the region, he didn’t want to think of a day when that exuberant world faced a reality check.

His impressive background with powerhouse advisories like Ernst & Young, Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers taught him how to anticipate and respond to any real estate crisis the market could throw at him. But things were different this time around. Indeed, Orth’s ordeal in the Gulf serves as a chilling reminder of how even the finest experts met their match with the Gulf real estate slump.

Everything was coming up roses when Orth began his Gulf tenure. After an 18-month stay as senior directorof research and intelligence at Sama Dubai, a division of Dubai Holdings, Orth moved to Abu Dhabi’s Al Qudra Real Estate as CEO and general manager. His mandate at Al Qudra was to manage a portfolio of $40 billion in real estate development projects.

But his stint at Al Qudra lasted just eight months. By then things had started to go wrong for the real estate industry in the UAE, and by default, for Orth.

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