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  1. #61

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    haha, they can't even grow a decent lawn, how's that for ironic!


    Remember ME! One moment the homeless guy with a knife is on the other side of the car....lights go out....lights come back on and he's got his arm around your neck....haha

  2. #62
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    Cover story on the latest BusinessWeek magazine focuses on Dubai’s building boom:

    “The New Middle East Oil Bonanza
    Beyond the Dubai Ports deal: Where all those billions are going.

    If the Burj Dubai development isn't the biggest project in the world, it must be close. At night under floodlights thousands of mostly Asian workers in hard hats swarm over a 500-acre building site in the heart of Dubai, the Persian Gulf emirate that is tiny in size but limitless in ambition. Emaar Properties, a local company, is carving out of the desert a new $20 billion district with 30,000 homes, a Giorgio Armani-designed hotel, an ice rink, and a 30-acre man-made lake. Advertisement

    The centerpiece of the project, which employs more than a dozen American firms, is Burj Dubai, a $1 billion tower. It was designed by Chicago architects Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, and its construction is being managed by New York-based Turner Construction Co. "We are moving up one floor a week, and we are now on the 31st floor," says Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Emaar's chairman. The exact planned height is shrouded in secrecy to foil competitors, but Alabbar promises that the luxury residential complex, more than 2,500 feet high, will be "40% taller than anything else."


    Slide Show >>The world's tallest building? In Dubai? The city-state in the United Arab Emirates captured headlines in the U.S. recently when government-owned Dubai Ports World, through its purchase of Britain's Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. for $6.8 billion, agreed to take over management of several major ports, from New York to Miami. The deal has sparked an outcry among politicians worried that an Arab-owned company could be a vehicle for al Qaeda operatives. The uproar has forced the company to delay its plans in the U.S.

    The Dubai Ports deal, though, is just one relatively small episode in the second great Mideast oil boom. The boom is characterized by hugely ambitious projects that are transforming the shores of the Persian Gulf into a Xanadu with some of the most fantastic and expensive structures on earth. The rush of petrodollars is creating enormous private and public wealth and reshaping Gulf business and society.

    All this is happening when the other Mideast -- of Iraq, radical Islam, and Palestinian-Israeli relations -- is wracked by violence and strife. That turmoil could certainly threaten the Gulf's prosperity. Just look at what happened in late February when al Qaeda fighters unsuccessfully attacked a key oil facility in Saudi Arabia. But for now the authoritarian regimes running the Gulf are seizing the opportunity to build new economies and satisfy their restive populations with a new level of affluence.

    The tale of Mideast money is not just a local story, however. This year, with oil prices stuck in the $55-to-$65-per-barrel range, perhaps half a trillion dollars will land in OPEC coffers -- more than at any time since the boom of the 1970s and 1980s. The Mideast oil states alone will gather in $320 billion in oil and gas export revenues.

    Where is that money going, how is it affecting the global economy, and what impact will the boom have on U.S. relations with the region? Those are crucial questions. The last oil boom, from 1973 to 1985, had dire consequences. The oil price spike created a lethal mix of inflation and slow growth worldwide. Arab states, unprepared for their newfound wealth, socked too much money away in U.S. Treasuries and a few international banks. The banks in turn lent the money to Latin American governments. In the end, these countries couldn't pay it back -- and instead triggered a debt crisis that shook the global financial system.

    This time around the impact of money-flows from the Mideast does not appear quite so toxic. The oil exporters are spending much more at home on investment and consumption, helping to shore up global demand for goods, and balancing out the effect of their huge export earnings.

    But Mideast money is definitely venturing abroad. For starters, a chunk of the billions is going to deals in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Dubai Ports did not just cut a deal for P&O: It also bought the port operations of Florida's CSX Corp. (CSX ) for $1.2 billion. Last year, Dubai luxury hotel group Jumeirah bought the swanky Essex House in New York for an estimated $400 million. Dubai International Capital, the private-equity arm of Dubai Holding, the government's oil money depository, paid $1.5 billion for Madame Tussauds, the British wax museum, and an additional $1.2 billion for a 2% stake in DaimlerChrysler (DCX ). Mubadala Development Co. of Abu Dhabi acquired a 5% holding in Italian carmaker Ferrari (FIA ). In the biggest Mideast deal of all, Egyptian cellular operator Orascom Telecom Holding formed a consortium to buy Wind, a top Italian mobile network, for $13 billion. "These investors have an incentive to invest in assets outside the petroleum industry," says Thomas J. Barrack Jr. His Colony Capital LLC recently partnered with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to buy the Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc. (FHR ) for $3.9 billion.

    On the Hunt
    The numbers involved in these deals are still small compared with the billions being spent in the region. Bankers in the Mideast, however, say both governments and family companies controlled by Gulf billionaires are becoming more adventurous. Beat Naegeli, the Dubai-based head of Credit Suisse Dubai (CSR ) private banking in the region, says big Arab investors, while still predominantly invested locally, are increasingly on the hunt for equity stakes in overseas companies and real estate deals in New York, London, and Paris. Many of these investors, he says, are currently expanding their private-equity positions rather than putting money into hedge funds -- a good way to diversify. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have multibillion-dollar funds that are scouting for equity investments abroad. "We will see more of that," says Brad D. Bourland, chief economist at Riyadh-based Samba Financial Group, a leading Saudi bank. "This is the tip of the iceberg."

    Then there's the Mideast money flowing into U.S. Treasury securities and other passive investments. U.S. government data indicate that OPEC countries held only $67 billion in Treasuries as of December. Most of that was held by the Gulf states, but it's small compared with the giant holdings of China and Japan.

    The official figures, though, probably underestimate the clout of Arab money in world capital markets. According to PFC Energy, an energy consultant in Washington, the Mideast oil states hold a cumulative $1 trillion in foreign assets -- stocks, bonds, government debt, real estate, and other investments. In fact, the money isn't easy to trace because unlike the oil boom of the 1970s, today's petrodollars aren't being parked in a few big American and European banks. Instead they are sprinkled around the world through an intricate network of private banks, funds, and offshore financial centers. "There's a distinct lack of hard information on where this money's going," says Mohsin S. Khan, director of the International Monetary Fund's Middle East and Central Asian department.

    What's more, the Arab states are now major buyers of goods from Japan, China, and the rest of Asia, where they sell the bulk of their oil. So these petrodollars get recycled as Japanese yen or Chinese yuan -- which the Japanese and Chinese governments convert into U.S. Treasuries. Indirectly, then, oil money is bankrolling U.S. deficit spending. Paul Donovan, a global economist for UBS Investment Bank (UBS ) in London, estimates that petrodollars, mostly channeled through Asia and Europe, are funding up to 45% of the U.S. current account deficit.

    While these billions circulate through the global money system, you only have to look around the Persian Gulf to see that huge amounts of oil wealth are staying in the region. Fueled by the oil boom, local stock markets have risen anywhere from over 200% to more than 1,000% in the past four years, despite current sharp corrections in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Imports from the U.S., Europe, and Asia are soaring.

    Yet in contrast to the helter-skelter development of the 1970s, a new and better-planned Middle East economy is rising, shaped by a well-educated business class and powered by a youthful population seeking prosperity. "Look at the demographics of these nations," says Alabbar, 46, who graduated from Seattle University. "They all see what the outside world is all about, and they dream to live like that." Some 65% of Saudis, for example, are 24 years old or younger.

    Another important difference: Governments in the region learned harsh lessons when they fell into dire financial straits during the lean period of low oil prices in the early 1990s. They began shifting economic policies to cut waste and make room for once-tiny private sectors to create jobs. Those moves created a healthy environment in which growth could catch fire once oil prices took off starting in 2000. In 2005 real gross domestic product grew a healthy 6.5% in Saudi Arabia, by far the most important economy in the region. "Improved confidence, fear of investing in the U.S. and Western Europe, and the massive amounts of private capital brought home have led to an unprecedented boom," says Fareed Mohamedi, chief economist at consultants PFC.

    The region's governments have developed more careful spending strategies. The Saudi government, for instance, has been very conservative in its budgeting, assuming until this year that oil prices would return to $25 per barrel. Now, with $150 billion or so stashed away, Riyadh plans to increase its spending by 20% this year, to about $90 billion. Capital outlays are set to nearly triple, to $33 billion.

    Planning Ahead
    Much of this money is earmarked for long-term projects. They include a $50 billion, five-year program to build new roads, schools, and hospitals in rural areas; a $9 billion modernization of an oil refinery at Rabigh, with Japan's Sumitomo Corp.; and $14 billion for new production-capacity expansion at Saudi Aramco, the national oil company. "The number of megaprojects with five-year time frames is so big that it ought to sustain a lot of the private sector through this decade," says Samba's Bourland. He figures the private sector will record 8% growth this year, vs. 5% for the overall Saudi economy. In the UAE, private-sector growth has been hitting double digits.

    Governments have smartened up in other ways. They are tailoring their infrastructure projects to attract clusters of similar businesses, which gain from being close together. Dubai has established Internet and Media Cities -- office parks wired for high-speed data transmission. Not to be outdone, the Saudis have brought in Emaar to develop a new $27 billion King Abdullah Economic City on the Red Sea coast north of Jeddah. The planners of the new metropolis envision a giant port, and manufacturing businesses including petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Some 30% of the equity in the project may be offered to investors on the stock exchange.

    All this creates huge opportunities for U.S., European, and Asian companies. Dubai's Internet City has attracted the cream of technology companies such as Microsoft (MSFT ), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ ), and Cisco Systems (CSCO ). "This is a mini Silicon Valley," says Ghazi Atallah, Cisco's Dubai-based emerging-markets honcho. The Middle East represents Cisco's fastest-growing region, with double-digit annual revenue increases thanks to local telecom deregulation and the increasing sophistication of private businesses. Mideast companies are also buying a very high proportion of advanced technology like combined video streaming and data services. "In some cases [customers in the region] are leapfrogging Europe and the U.S.," Atallah adds.

    Other international companies such as Fluor Corp. (FLR ) and Bechtel Group Inc. are likely to benefit from the frantic pace of construction, especially in the oil fields. Aircraft makers Boeing Co. (BA ) and Airbus are selling squadrons of planes in the region, which is seeing the rise of fast-growing carriers like Dubai's Emirates. That airline has an astonishing $37 billion worth of planes on order, including 45 of Airbus' new A380 -- the biggest order placed by any airline for the double-decker megaplane. And between them, Emirates and Qatar Airways have ordered 49 Boeing 777 jetliners. "The Middle East has become one of the three big reservoirs of aircraft sales in the world," along with China and India, says Habib Fekih, president of Airbus Middle East.

    Meanwhile, Nabil A. Habayeb, Dubai-based President and CEO for the Middle East and Africa for General Electric Co. (GE ), says the company's orders for the region leaped by close to 80%, to $8 billion, from 2004 to 2005. Much of that is in big-ticket items like power-generation equipment and aircraft engines, as well as oil-, gas-, and water-treatment facilities. But state-of-the-art health-care equipment and even theme parks are in demand, too, says Habayeb: "The priorities are health care, education, and diversification away from an oil- and gas-based economy."

    It's not just the big U.S. manufacturers that are benefiting. International investment bankers are being called in to raise capital for regional corporations interested in taking advantage of the red-hot markets. Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed raised $397 million on Feb. 23 for his Kingdom Hotel Investments, which will be listed on the new Dubai International Financial Exchange and in London. "There is a big backlog of IPOs," says May Nasrallah, head of Middle East investment banking at Morgan Stanley (MS ) in London, which managed the Kingdom IPO. Among IPOs expected, according to bankers, are an offering by Alwaleed's main vehicle, Kingdom Holdings, and a listing of Showtime Arabia, a broadcaster partly owned by Viacom Inc. (VIA ).

    Bankers say the deal flow could really pick up if governments start to sell off their still-considerable holdings. "If governments see the opportunity to tap into this pent-up demand for financial investments and transfer ownership of public entities as the British did [under Margaret Thatcher], I think that would be very good for the market," says Osama Abbasi, co-head of the European fixed income group at Credit Suisse First Boston.

    Plenty could still go wrong. Despite all the private-sector growth, the economies of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries are nailed to oil. Oil and gas production is more than 50% of GDP in Qatar and Kuwait and 42% in Saudi Arabia, according to Credit Suisse. Overheating is also a concern, with investors borrowing money to chase local stocks and consumer debt growing to worrying levels in some of the Gulf countries.

    The political problems around the region are far from solved. In the worst case, Iraq's troubles could spill over into conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims around the region. How U.S.-Arab relations play out will also prove hugely influential in containing potential strife. The U.S. is on the receiving end of a lot of criticism now, mostly aimed at its conduct of the war in Iraq. Should the U.S. withdraw, though, the Gulf states might find themselves once again under pressure from their bigger, poorer neighbors, Iraq and Iran.

    But if the Gulf regimes need the U.S., the opposite is just as true. America needs a stable source of oil for itself and the world, and U.S. companies dearly want to increase an already booming trade with the Mideast. The indirect but powerful role these oil states play in financing the U.S. deficit further enmeshes Washington's interests with the region's, no matter how contentious relations may get over America's foreign policy.

    These factors increase the challenge Washington faces in encouraging reform. The authoritarian governments in the Gulf will have to change to keep pace with their wealthy, better-educated populations. They have a long way to go on improving opportunities for women, for instance. While more money in people's pockets buys time, the rulers are facing demands for greater accountability and wider political participation. Some business people even think that oil money could have negative consequences. With financial pressure off, governments may be more likely to delay privatization and other reforms.

    Yet it doesn't look like this Gulf boom will fizzle anytime soon, since oil is in such demand. One possible scenario: As global interest rates rise with the recovery of Japan and Europe, worldwide competition for capital will heat up, and the well-heeled investors of the Mideast will become pivotal players in future deals. Oil money's role, then, could just get bigger.”

  3. #63
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    A continuation of the story found here: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/sh...3&postcount=99

    In Dubai, an Outcry From Asians for Workplace Rights

    By HASSAN M. FATTAH
    NY Times
    March 26, 2006

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/in...=1&oref=slogin

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 25 — For Rajee Kumaran, this was the city of dreams.

    Dubai's gleaming high rises, idyllic beaches and seemingly limitless opportunities glittered on the pages of brochures and in the stories told by laborers returning home to his native Kerala, India. But after five years here, surviving in squalid conditions and barely making ends meet on less than $200 a month, Mr. Kumaran, 28, says his dream has long since faded.

    "I thought this was the land of opportunity, but I was fooled," he said Thursday, as he stood with several other construction workers outside their work camp in the desert on the outskirts of the city.

    When hundreds of workers angered by low salaries and mistreatment rioted Tuesday night at the site of what is to become the world's tallest skyscraper, not only were they expressing the growing frustration of Asian migrants here, they offered a glimpse of an increasingly organized labor force.

    Far from the high-rise towers and luxury hotels emblematic of Dubai, the workers turning this swath of desert into a modern metropolis live in a Dickensian world of cramped labor camps, low pay and increasing desperation.

    For years, workers like Mr. Kumaran have done whatever they could to get here, often paying thousands of dollars to unscrupulous recruiters for the chance to work at one of the hundreds of construction sites in the emirates.

    Of the 1.5 million residents of Dubai, as many as a million are immigrants who have come here to work in some capacity, with the largest subgroup being construction workers, said Hadi Ghaemi, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who covers the United Arab Emirates, citing government statistics.

    The vast majority of the immigrants come from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines.

    With the cost of living rising, many have abandoned dreams of returning with a fortune. The construction workers' camps, in particular, have been set up ever deeper in the desert. That adds an hour or two just to get to the job site every morning, in addition to the workers' 12-hour shifts.

    A growing number have resorted to suicide rather than return home with empty pockets: last year, 84 South Asians committed suicide in Dubai, according to the Indian Consulate here, up from 70 in 2004.

    Mr. Kumaran, who earns 550 dirhams every month, or about $150, as a laborer, sends home almost half his earnings and lives on the equivalent of roughly $60 a month. That is barely enough to pay for food and cigarettes and using his cellphone from time to time. But he is not sure how he will repay the loan he took to get here.

    "If I'd stayed in India and worked just as hard as I do now, I could have made the same money," he said. "And I wouldn't have needed to get a loan to come here."

    Since last September, when 800 workers staged a protest march down a main highway in the heart of the city and set off a national debate about the treatment of foreign workers, laborers have held at least eight major strikes to demand their rights and get their pay, which is sometimes withheld.

    But the mass action on Tuesday was the most significant of its kind.

    Hundreds of workers building the Burj Dubai skyscraper chased security guards and broke into offices, smashing computers, scattering files and wrecking cars and construction machines. When they returned to work the next day, demanding better pay and improved working conditions, thousands of laborers building an airport terminal across town also laid down their tools, demanding better conditions, too. The workers also halted work on Thursday, until a settlement was negotiated.

    "It was a watershed moment in coordination and organization," Mr. Ghaemi said. "It started with increasing numbers of strikes, and has now evolved into very organized and coordinated activities. If these grievances are not addressed quickly by the government they are sure to begin hurting the economic growth of the country."

    Those workers have few rights. Visa sponsors and employers typically confiscate their passports and residency permits when they sign on, restricting their freedom of movement and their ability to report abuse.

    Most pay money to recruiters to find work here, a practice that the U.A.E. government has sought to stop. When they get here, few can leave the country without the permission of their employers, who can block them from working elsewhere in the country if they resign or are fired.

    Unionizing is forbidden, too, and most workers have no recourse other than the Labor Ministry.

    Denial of wages is the most common abuse of workers, as contracting companies typically wait to pay their workers until they themselves get paid.
    In the worst cases, workers have been denied wages for more than 10 months, only to lose the entire salary when the contracting companies go bankrupt, leaving the men destitute and with few options.

    The U.A.E.'s Ministry of Labor has tried to tackle the problem in recent months, making changes meant to allow workers to change employers more easily and imposing strict penalties on employers that do not pay their workers.

    Workers can call a toll-free hot line to the ministry to lodge complaints, which are investigated. And ministry inspectors do travel to work camps to inspect them.

    "We always support the workers and want to protect their rights, but we must protect employers' rights as well," said Ali al-Kaabi, the labor minister in the U.A.E. "As long as these three factors are in place, the workers have no reason to protest. If they have any problems or complaints they should speak with a supervisor, who should come to the ministry. Then if we don't act they have the right to protest."

    But the sheer number of workers who have poured into the country over the past two years and inadequate staffing at the ministry have meant that many problems slip through, some officials and human rights workers say.

    Only 80 government inspectors oversee about 200,000 companies and other establishments that employ migrant workers, Mr. Ghaemi said, citing government figures. The inspectors also look at labor camps: of the 36 camps inspected from May through December last year, the ministry ranked 27 well below government standards.

    "There's such a boom and so many laborers required here that the government is bringing measures which are not entirely adequate," said B. S. Mubarak, labor and welfare consul at the Consulate General of India in Dubai. "Neither we nor the ministry can cope with the growing number of laborers and growing number of complaints."

    As he boards a bus to his construction site every morning but Friday, Mr. Kumaran says he looks up at Dubai's skyline of gleaming high rises with a degree of sadness.

    "I wish the rich people would realize who is building these towers," Mr. Kumaran said, flanked by his co-workers. "I wish they could come and see how sad this life is."

    Mohammed Fadel Fahmy contributed reporting for this article.

    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

  4. #64

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    Some of those Nakheel projects are just insane. All those islands built out on the water in the middle of nowhere. Are any of them in progress yet? The videos are cool but all videos are.

    Edit: Wow, I wandered over to skyscrapercity and they have pretty insanely comprehensive threads on Dubai.
    Last edited by smackfu; May 22nd, 2006 at 05:06 PM.

  5. #65
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    Dubai, Where Too Much Is Never Enough

    By SETH SHERWOOD

    Published: June 4, 2006

    Pity the cartographers and guidebook publishers striving to capture Dubai's juggernautlike sprawl. With every month bringing announcements of audacious new hotels and leisure concepts — a huge artificial coral reef studded with World War II planes and pounds of gold is being built for scuba divers — today's top draws can easily become tomorrow's fire sales. Dubai travel guides and maps, their shelf life shorter than eggs, can pretty much go straight from printing press to pulp plant.

    For the moment, Dubai's marquee attraction is the much-touted 25-story, 1,300-foot-long ski run inside the new Mall of the Emirates. But even more dazzling is the après-ski scene afforded by the 400 shops and restaurants in the 6.5 million-square-foot mall. For luxury goods, follow the black robes of Saudi billionaires' wives to the Rivoli, Harvey Nichols and Yves Saint Laurent boutiques. For nourishment, join the D & G-wearing Lebanese women crowding the Giorgio Armani cafe.

    During his decades of travels, the 14th-century explorer Ibn Battuta traversed North Africa, Egypt, Persia, India, China and Andalusia. Thanks to the new Ibn Battuta Mall — "the world's largest themed mall" — 21st-century shoppers can make the same trip in an afternoon. Containing 250 outlets spread through six architecturally distinct zones based on the countries Battuta visited, the place is a history lesson and retail blitz in one. Each zone quietly raises important questions: Did the ancient Persians actually shop at Woolworth's and the Athlete's Foot? How was Hindu history influenced by the Sunglass Hut? Such issues are probably best mulled over KFC in the medieval Tunisian food court before heading to the Ming dynasty Imax theater.

    The most picturesque new shopping experience unfolds under the forest of half-built 21st-century towers in the Dubai Marina (off Sheikh Zayed Road at Interchange 5). Calling itself "the Middle East's answer to the French Riviera," the vast seaside city-within-a-city is still years away from its goal of housing 70,000 people in some 200 buildings. But the palm-fringed Marina Walk, where valets park Lexus S.U.V.'s while their owners stroll among its shops and cafes, is already drawing throngs.

    The marina's current hot spot is Chandelier (971-4-366-3606), a minimalist-cool Lebanese restaurant and self-proclaimed "oyster lounge." Inside angular white interiors suggesting a Middle Eastern version of Miami, crowds of dolled-up Russian couples and black-veiled Arab women sporting diamond jewelry dine on tapaslike mezze dishes (14 to 30 dirhams, or $3.75 to $8 at 3.75 dirhams to the dollar).

    Dubai Marina is also home to the city's hippest new hotel of the moment, the Grosvenor West Marina Beach (971-4-399-8888; www.starwood.com; doubles from 1,500 dirhams). Packed into the 45-story building are 217 rooms and 13 restaurants and bars. The Indian fusion cuisine and ethno-chic décor at Indego come courtesy of Vineet Bhatia, who scored a Michelin star for his Zaika in London. For diners demanding royal treatment, the restaurant Mezzanine is run by Gary Robinson, a former personal chef for Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. In the Buddha Bar, a branch of the famous Parisian D.J. lounge, a massive cross-legged statue of the establishment's namesake V.I.P. watches boisterous young professionals unwind to global house music.

    Vladimir Lenin would no doubt take a dim view of the chandeliers, gilded Corinthian columns and shamelessly capitalistic amenities in the 138-room Hotel Moscow (Al Makhtoum Street, 971-4-228-8222; www.moscowhoteldubai.com; doubles from 960 dirhams), opened in 2004. But anyone with an appreciation for 19th-century Slavic kitsch will enjoy the czarist decadence.

    Finally, just when you were about to abandon your search for a luxury hotel offering falconry, along comes Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa (Dubai Al Ain Road, 971-4-832-6699, www.babalshams.com, doubles from 700 dirhams, or $80). In the dunes outside of Dubai, the 150-room fortress-style hotel offers a five-star version of old-world Arabian life. The rigors of recreational activities like falconry can be soothed, for example, in the one of three pool. And after a hard day of camel riding, your derriere will welcome the Satori spa.

    But because this is Dubai, bigger fish are always lurking on the horizon waiting to swallow the current leaders. In 2008, the present crop of top hotels will have to contend with offerings from two mega fashion designers, in the form of the Palazzo Versace and Armani Hotel Dubai, as well as an underwater hotel, Hydropolis.

    Similarly, the mall wars will escalate considerably in coming years with the arrival of world record aspirants like the Mall of Arabia (featuring some 1,000 shops spread over 10 million square feet) and the Dubai Mall, a 12-million-square-foot monster in the same development as the forthcoming world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai.

    Even the Middle Eastern snow monopoly at the Mall of the Emirates is set for a challenge. The Dubai Sunny Mountain Ski Dome, set for completion this year or next, will house an entire indoor mountain range and a ski mountain with a very unusual twist: It will revolve.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerelac
    The Dubai Metro would be ready very late compared to when most of Dubai's other projects will be. Traffic will be a nightmare until then.
    That's true. The 2 lines for the metro should have been completed now and instead, construction should have started on an extra 3 or something.
    They've decided to extend both lines though and add a third aswell. The palm will also have a line that'll link to the red one I think.


    A few pictures from the supertalls going up. Out of the many 1000fters planned only a few are properly under construction.

    Rose rotana suites, 1093ft:




    Almas tower, 1148ft:





    A 3D model I made showing the scale of all this stuff. The model shows the burj dubai complex, business bay, financial centre and the current sky"line".
    Even if only half of this is built...
    Keep in mind the model is not at all complete, only the white towers are properly modeled, the rest are only represented by boxes because, not all have been released and also, not all the ones that are released have been done.




    The burj dubai shown is STR's work and is about 2600ft high in that version. The flower tower on the left is the burj al alam at 1588ft and is due to start at the end of the year.




    Another centrepiece tower will be released next week in NY, it's being designed by Zaha Hadid and rumours say it's nicknamed "dancing towers" and is actually 3 towers not one. Should be interesting. The location will be where the pyramid-shaped tower is.

  7. #67

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    Malec,
    You seam to be up on the Dubai thing. I have a random question. I had heard that alot of the residential growth in Dubai is a result of upper middle class residents of various middle eastern countries buying up property in the hopes of hedging their bets for regional conflict.

    More to the point, I heard that Iranians, Saudi, Syrians and others are buying homes for vakay, but also to have a place to flee to if the other shoe drops. (This more in the case of Iranians than anyone else, who have money and little investment oppertunities).

    Can you verify any of these statements? True, untrue, part true, complete and utter lies?

    Also - Dubai gets only 5%-10% of revenue from oil right? Then they must be worried about the price of oil as much as other non-producing nations. If so are they taking steps to insulate themselves and their economy (i.e. mass transit, giant solar fields in the wastelands, turbines, secret fusion power plant(or gasp fission plants). A city of that size with that many apartments must have massive HVAC loads on the local grid. AC on all day, Heater on at night.

  8. #68

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    Well I'm mostly interested in the architecture and that's it so don't know very much.

    Since they don't give citizenship to foreigners coming in expatriates make up about 80% of dubai's people population. The rapid population growth there is due to more and more expats coming in so that's why the growth is so abnormal. Population there is around 1.5m, maybe more now, it grows by around 100,000 a year (not including construction workers).

    I wouldn't say most but a lot of apartments and villas on the palm for example are bought as holiday homes by europeans. I think your statement is true but it's definitely not the main reason for all the apartments.

    About the oil thing, it might only contribute 5% to their revenue but the city itsself is still really dependant on oil. If you want to compare it to a US city it's definitely more like a small LA or Phoenix rather than NY. You've got your strip malls, endless sprawl, highways dividing your city in 2, etc. Of course this means the place is hugely car dependant, traffic's a big problem over there.

  9. #69
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malec
    If you want to compare it to a US city it's definitely more like a small LA or Phoenix rather than NY. You've got your strip malls, endless sprawl, highways dividing your city in 2, etc. Of course this means the place is hugely car dependant, traffic's a big problem over there.
    Are there any "new" cities being developed that are looking beyond the era of the automobile?

  10. #70
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    Default

    Portland, Oregon

  11. #71

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    3 new renders from my model:
    (see which towers you can recognise )








  12. #72
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    Nice computer rendering.

    The January 2007 issue of National Geographic Magazine (available mid-December 2006) will feature a story on Dubai. I can't wait to see that publication's take on the city (and their unparalleled photographs).

  13. #73
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    Default Burj Al Arab.....

    I was watching a doc on Dubai and they mentioned the Burj Al Arab. What freaking fabulous tower! The kind -pretty much like Gothic Cathedrals, and Art Deco Scrapers; IMO- that bring you to your knees and make you realize what beautiful grand scale figments the human imagination can produce. My favorite tower outside NYC next to the Petronas.

    The Tower:










    At night:



    Structural detail:






    Check that atrium and the fountain in the middle!


    Hotel corridors that overlook the atrium:


    Looking straight up:


  14. #74

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    Interesting documentary about this place:
    Check out the 3 videos.

    http://uaecommunity.blogspot.com/

  15. #75

    Default Given up on the Middle East

    Being a son of a resident in Dubai for over 30 years, our family finally decided to make a permanent move to the United States for good. There is no point hitting your head on a wall and asking for citizenship because it simply cannot happen. The properties for sale are just for a diversification of the economy and to kickstart the real estate sector - expatriates should not be disillusioned into believing that Dubai is becoming a home for them - it isn't and will never be. The so-called visa that can be attained under the property too is only a 3 year renewable visa which can be cancelled at any time. I have seen many expatriates being disillusioned by the "Dubai dream" - tax-free environment, first class infrastructure, and other factors. Many in the process forget where they are from, forget to send money home and get trapped in the process, buying properties and businesses, as well as making tangible and intangible investments in a place that can never ever become their home. It is time expatriates wake up to this reality and use Dubai for their benefit, and not let Dubai get the better of them. This can be achieved by sending most of the earnings back home or using Dubai as a stepping stone for better pastures abroad in the West.

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