A Strange Mix: Social Work and Nakheel
Nakheel is in social work mode, now that it has finally found something to do that everyone can be happy about. It's building artificial reefs to rebuild marine life where their projects lay. The same projects they say didn't affect fish populations at all. Yes, that one.
November 26, 2011 3:21 by Eva Fernandes
Dear old Nakheel is known for a lot of things: blaring ambition, aggressive sales campaign and flashy projects. The extremely ambitious man made island projects including Palm Jumeirah and the World are just two examples. And then of course, there are the unfinished/cancelled projects including the Trump Tower, the Nakheel Tower, the Palm Deira, and the Dubai Waterfront.
Nobody’s stopping people to dream big here. But the reality is Nakheel is now more known around business circles for its tremendous record of debt—close to $16 billion—but the one thing the property developer isn’t as well known for is subtlety.
A fact that was made apparent in an interview Nakheel chairman Ali Lootah had with The National when he spoke of the company’s plans to build 500 artificial reefs off Dubai’s coast.
“We thought it is important to help increase the marine life.” Helping the environment? Well way to go dear old Nakheel-but wait, what’s that noise I can hear? Is it the complaints and protest of conversationalists alike who warned that the construction of man made islands like the Palm Jumeirah and The World will destroy marine life, fish stocks and will put endangered species of the hawksbill turtle further at risk?
“It’s a normal practice that international businesses do some social work”- continues Lootah.
Social work and property developers? Ah, yes. Some would say finally admitting that their ambitious projects did affect the fishing population after all and of course doing something about it could be called social work.
In the interview, Lootah added the project was not in response to a report this week by the UN University that Gulf coastal projects were damaging the marine ecosystem. No. Of course, not. Why even bring it up, eh? We’re sure this is something that’s been in the works for ages.
Because as you said, (Let’s finish off with a real whopper of a comment for the local press) “We thought it was important to help increase marine life now that we have more free time after our restructuring.” Yeah, sometimes a simple ‘no comment’ would just be better.
But hey, who are we to judge a company by its past, maybe this new move marks a new chapter in the developers’ business record. A more open, transparent and socially responsible chapter…
And looks like the company really is starting to be one. In that very same article, the company has announced that it is considering charging Palm Jumeirah tenants as much as 5,000AED for access to the beach club and some other amenities, which have now been reportedly handed over to a new operator. What? Did you really think that residences in this prestigious location would could with amenities for free? Ha. Check the contracts. As Lootah said, there is no such acclamation in them that the amenities are complimentary. And any tenants who would say otherwise may just have misunderstood the sales person when they were told that one of the best features is that they are within reach of a brand spanking luxury club. Is anyone surprised?
Yes, a new chapter for Nakheel indeed.
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