Who’s going to fall next?
Even as the financial crisis drags on into the New Year, announcements of project cancellations and delays are starting get common.
February 5, 2009 11:10 by Aarti Nagraj
A report by HSBC said that almost $75 billion worth of property schemes have been put on hold in Dubai because of the economic slowdown. And while people are still trying to figure out which buildings have been cancelled or delayed by developers, international ventures in the city are also starting to take a hit.
In December last year, work on the $790 million Trump International Hotel & Tower was suspended. The 62-storey tower was set to become the centerpiece of Nakheel’s Palm Jumeriah island when completed in 2011. In August 2008, Hilary Swank, Russell Crowe, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Orlando Bloom were some of the celebrities who attended the exclusive party thrown by Donald Trump and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem in LA for the launch of the tower.
And now, another Nakheel collaboration, the Worlds of Discovery, a collection of four theme parks coming up on The Palm Jebel Ali, has been shelved. Orlando-based Busch Entertainment Corp and Nakheel have said that the project has been delayed for at least a year, and that they will announce a new completion date “in due time.”
The project was initially announced in February last year, and while SeaWorld and Aquatica were scheduled to open in 2012, the Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove were set to open in 2015. The parks were planned to be built on 300 acres, shaped like Busch’s killer whale logo.
The HSBC report says that high-end residential schemes and commercial developments were those most at risk of being shelved, adding that “the worst of news has seen cancellations of entire projects even though they appeared in advanced stages of construction.”
In the recent past, Dubai began to announced grand plans for its 2015 ‘vision’ which included Dubailand with its numerous theme parks and leisure areas; a sporting center: Dubai Sports City with golf courses and a mega stadium; and the ultimate lifestyle destination: with Fashion island (Isla Moda) on The World and gigantic malls.
But as the money dries up and projects get shelved and postponed, will Dubai be able to realize vision? Is the financial crisis only delaying its vision, or cancelling it altogether? And even if some of the projects do materialize, will the city continue to entice tourists?