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A Strange Mix: Social Work and Nakheel

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

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.

Says Lootah:

“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.

Have you been charged with a new fee recently by the property developers? If so, leave a comment or contact us at [email protected]

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  1. Amused on November 27, 2011 11:38 am

    Sad indeed. This company as many others in UAE need real professionals to deal with the situation. Allowing some amateurs to be at the head is dangerous as they do more harm ro a rather desperate situation. This company spends millions in PR consultants, how it come they dont monitor or coach him better? Ah, yes I understand. He knows better thatn thoses who studied for years on how to deal with media.

  2. Disappointed Palmbuyer on November 27, 2011 11:48 am

    I am interested in Nakheel’s suggestion that their customers should look at their contracts. I did that. It said Nakheel should handover a villa on palm Jebel Ali to me at the end of 2009, and if it didnt they would pay me a refund plus interest. Nakheel have refused to do either. So are Nakheel saying that they are now willing to honour contractual obligations? Or is this just a one-sided suggestion?

  3. Jake on November 27, 2011 2:15 pm

    This chairman Ali Lootah is so tone deaf he makes the Al Hajjar Air/Eastern Express guy seem like an innovative business leader


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