Dubai tackles uncertainty with ambition

19 June 2016

Developers are launching ambitious new projects amid concerns of oversupply

Dubai’s strategy for dealing with uncertainty is unconventional. When faced with concerns of oversupply, developers in most other cities would adopt a cautious approach and defer investment decisions until they could see for certain which way the market is going.

Instead of delaying plans, Dubai is moving ahead with even more gusto, and this year it has rekindled its love affair with superlatives.

In April, the local Emaar Properties’ chairman Mohammed Alabbar announced that the new observation tower designed by Spain’s Santiago Calatrava Valls for the Dubai Creek Harbour development will be taller than Burj Khalifa. This means if the tower is completed before Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower, it will be the tallest in the world.

The tower announcement was followed in June by Alabbar’s confirmation that the new retail district that is also planned for the Dubai Creek Harbour development will be twice the size of Dubai Mall, which is the largest retail centre in the world by total area.

Emaar is not the only developer launching new schemes. In late April, Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah told MEED that Nakheel will launch new development projects during the third quarter of this year, and an award for the design and construction of a new metro line is expected before the end of Ramadan.

The announcements clearly demonstrate that despite the concerns about the global economy and oversupply of real estate in Dubai, the emirate’s decision-makers have the confidence to launch ambitious new schemes.

Naysayers doubt Dubai’s ability to finance such large projects and say the launches smack of desperation as the government tries to inject some hype into an otherwise lacklustre market, while optimists will say it is yet another example of daring Dubai taking on and achieving the seemingly impossible.

The truth will reveal itself as work starts on these schemes. If they are completed successfully then Dubai’s bold decisions will have called the market; if they struggle to move forward and are delayed then the scepticism will have been justified.

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