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Is the construction money drying up in Dubai?

Is the construction money drying up in Dubai?

“There is plenty space for growth, however is the construction money drying up in Dubai?…”

written by Wayne Brown

Is the construction money drying up in Dubai

So I’m back in Dubai…

This time to facilitate a Leadership Mindset workshop with a group from across the Middle East.

I consider myself a fairly well-traveled Australian, having lived in 23 cities, situated in 6 countries, and worked in more than 85 global locations.

It’s a passion that never dies…

Having been based in Shanghai and Hong Kong for the past 15 years, leading a very local existence and learning to understand the Chinese ways, it’s great when opportunities arise for me to facilitate or coach with other cultures.

To listen and learn, see and experience firsthand—the things that people value and believe. And as you can see from the workshop flip chart shown above, this was one session that would help expose those cultural differences.

BUT first, to explore UAE & Dubai…

An oasis located on the coastal edge of a desert. The business mecca of the entire Middle Eastern region, not only the country of United Arab Emirates. not only the country of United Arab Emirates.

And there’s oil in them dunes. Perhaps so, but for the time being, at least, it seems the wealthy have slowed their appetite for tall buildings and mega construction projects. Reports from those closest to the job market – our HR fraternity – report a noticeable slowing in job vacancies, with many of the ex-pat community packing up and heading off to greener pastures.

It’s a situation which was re-stated during my last visit. Money is tightening, bad debts are increasing, and construction as a whole seems to be slowing rapidly.

Is the construction money drying up in Dubai

United Arab Emirates

federation of seven Emirates along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

The largest of these emirates, Abu Dhabi, which comprises more than three-fourths of the federation’s total land area, is the centre of its oil industry and borders Saudi Arabia on the federation’s southern and eastern borders.

Map showing the broader Middle East countries.

The port city of Dubai, located at the base of the mountainous Musandam Peninsula, is the Emirate of Dubai’s capital and is one of the region’s most vital commercial and financial centers, housing hundreds of multinational corporations in a forest of skyscrapers.

Capital of the United Arab Emirates…

Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second-most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. It is situated on an island off the Persian Gulf from the central western coast, while most of the city and Emirate reside on the mainland.

In 2019, Abu Dhabi’s urban area had an estimated population of 1.45 million people, out of 2.9 million in the Emirate.

Conversely, Dubai’s current resident population as of July 2019 is 3,290,000, making it the most populated UAE location.

Interestingly, most of the population are ex-pats, migrant blue-collar workers from neighboring India, Pakistan, Philippines, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, and China, and white-collar from several western countries.

Looking skywards, for our tribal diehards…

The following two tables are extracted directly from the CTBUH website Dubai – Skyscraper Center. As you can see from the first table, this city hosts many high-rise buildings – soon to be more than 200 of them above the 150m mark. And even more impressive is that 35 of these are above 300m. For our industry, that means considerable size and value maintenance contracts!

Population 2,213,845 (2013) Source: Dubai Statistics Center
Area 4,114 km² • 1,588 mi² Source: Dubai Statistics Center
150m+ Buildings 190 Completed51 Under Constr.
300m+ Buildings 22 Completed13 Under Constr.
Tallest Building Burj Khalifa (828 m)
Global Ranking #4 in the world by no. of 150m+ completed buildings
Regional Ranking #1 in Middle East by no. of 150m+ completed buildings
Country Ranking #1 in UAE by no. of 150m+ completed buildings
First 150m+ Building Burj Al Arab (1999)
Average Building Age 9 years
Most Common Function Residential, 52%

Here’s an interesting fact…

It’s worth noting the omission of one building from the below list, which is currently underway – that is the Dubai Creek Tower which is scheduled for completion by 2021 and stands as high as the Burj Khalifa at 828m – isn’t ranked, as it is purely an observation tower.

1 Burj Khalifa 2010 828 m
2 Marina 101 2017 425 m
3 Princess Tower 2012 413 m
4 23 Marina 2012 392 m
5 La Maison by HDS 2021 387 m
6 Elite Residence 2012 380 m
7 Uptown Tower 2022 370 m
8 The Address Boulevard 2017 370 m
9 Ciel Tower – 366 m
10 Almas Tower 2008 360 m
Is the construction money drying up in Dubai

During my recent visit, I took the opportunity to visit the uppermost observation deck on the 154th floor of the Burj Khalifa building and witnessed some spectacular sights.

Currently the world’s highest public observation deck. Soon to be rivaled by the Jeddah Tower, in Jeddah, KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

And the many other attractions of Dubai…

Being situated in a desert provides visitors with some unique opportunities Hot Air Ballooning and Dune Buggy racing racing over and across the shifting sandhills. Camel riding and witnessing sand flooded highways.

Bargaining with the gold merchants in the souks…

If you are willing to try your luck, then Deira Gold Souk is probably the most famous gold souk in the Emirates, containing a rich area of jewelers and bullion dealers in one place.

The old port docks for the wooden merchant ships give a glimpse of life on the seas in this region as they load and set sail for Africa and other neighboring countries.

The elaborate projects…

such as the Sail hotel, the man-made Palm Island residential complex and even larger nearby Dubai World and the many other unique resorts or mega complexes planned or under construction.

Is the construction money drying up in Dubai

My favorite, however, remains the Dubai Mall and the shopping experience this location offers.

The Dubai Mall – is the world’s largest shopping center with marine aquariums, ice rinks, and over 200 restaurants or refreshment stands.

Is the construction money drying up in Dubai

In total, there are more than 1200 stores plus the magic of the fountain outside.

And for coffee lovers, a number of the main brands are on offer, including multiple Starbucks outlets.

And that’s about a wrap…

As for my learning during this most recent visit? Having facilitated and coached leaders from many Middle Eastern countries, I don’t see much difference deep down. Sure we have different cultures, and that sometimes means our behaviors differ. But my experience is that we share many common core values.

I like Dubai as a dynamic city aside from the heat. The building architecture is creative. In many ways, there appears to be a competition between architects in China and the Middle East – two of the fastest-growing regions in our world today. Below are my thoughts and observations about the future of this city.

Is the construction money drying up in Dubai

That’s it for now…

For my next trip we visit the southern cities of China. The new home of one of the world’s highest test towers. I am looking forward to catching up with everyone then.

Until then, stay safe and keep learning!

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