Published on February 18, 2014
The new face of Cityscape – your global property investment magazine OCTOBER 2012 A Middle East perspective on global real estate Licensed by International Media Production Zone Nicholas Publishing International FZ LLC Investment A strong economy, stable financial system and recent legal changes boost foreign property investment into Turkey. in vest In Retail A growing middle class with increasing purchasing power makes Turkey one of the most attractive markets for retailer expansion. Tourism Tourist arrivals are increasing and new locations across the country become more popular; Turkey’s hotel sector is booming.
Event Calendar Global Dubai International Exhibition Centre, Dubai, UAE Latin America 2 ~ 4 October 2012 Amcham Business Center, Sao Paulo Brazil 29 ~ 31 October 2012 Jeddah Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 10 ~ 12 November 2012 Riyadh Riyadh International Exhibition Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 9 ~ 11 December 2012 Egypt Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt Abu Dhabi Qatar Asia Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE Qatar International Exhibition Center, Qatar Shanghai Convention Center, Shanghai, China Your Guide To Emerging Real Estate Markets 28 ~ 31 March 2013 16 ~ 18 April 2013 27 ~ 29 May 2013 4 ~ 6 September 2013
OCTOBER 2012 A MIDDLE EAST PERSPECTIVE ON GLOBAL R eal estate SPINE CITYSCAPE MAGAZINE
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EDITOR’S LETTER S o far, 2012 has been a rather turbulent year for many countries and markets around the world. Political instability in several Middle Eastern regions, the global economic crisis and the deepening of the Eurozone crisis have not been particularly positive to the development of the real estate markets in the affected countries. However, amidst all this, emerging economies around the world have largely shown remarkable resilience despite the financial crisis and have emerged as safe havens for real estate investors. As a result, markets that only a few years back would not have sprung to mind when thinking about profitable real estate investment now appear as highly lucrative opportunities. Take Albania for example, a country which after the collapse of communism in the early 1990s and the subsequent Kosovo crisis had to struggle with economic immaturity and civil disorder. Today, Albania’s economy is forecast to grow faster than the economy of any of its neighbouring countries. Now, as the Balkan State is becoming more popular among international tourists, Albania is coming to prominence among international developers and investors as new European property hotspot and a great investment opportunity. Currently, Turkey is probably the most impressive example of real estate performance in emerging markets. Over the past decade, the country has embarked on a remarkable growth journey and last year was recognised as the second fastest growing economy globally after China. Real estate investors from around the world have their eyes set on Turkey while a recently passed law, facilitating property purchase by foreigners, is further expected to boost investment into the country. This edition features a special supplement about the Turkish real estate market, produced in line with Cityscape Global’s ‘Country of Honor’ program. In the Middle East, Oman has recently gained recognition as a tourist destination while the government is working hard to promote the Sultanate’s image to an international audience. On the back of increased infrastructure improvement in the region, several foreign investors are now looking into Oman’s hospitality market which is said to offer profitable opportunities. Dubai, as the region’s once hottest real estate market is also making a surprising comeback this year and with a steady increase in tourist arrivals, investor confidence is returning to the UAE. We also look at Brazil, which, with a rapidly growing middle class, an immense housing supply deficit and an incredible growth in house prices clearly presents excellent conditions for real estate investors looking to capitalise on the boom of South America’s largest economy. In Asia, the Vietnamese government has recently lowered interest rates significantly in an effort to stimulate the local real estate market. While Vietnam might not be the typical place where to expect a fast return on investment, experts believe that the country possesses immense potential and provides great opportunities based on long-term growth. But not only emerging markets have performed well this year. Foreign investment in Australia’s property market has continued to increase in the first half of 2012 on the back of the country’s stable economy, while the uncertainty in Europe has motivated global investors to re-direct their funds to the land down under. Not surprisingly, the global economic trend is also mirrored in global retail performance. As the world is becoming an increasingly borderless global marketplace, emerging markets including China, India and Brazil act as the primary drivers of growth and are affecting the structure of the global retail market. It is expected that by 2020, over half of the world’s population with a monthly income greater than USD 5,000 will live in India and China. The massive developing middle class in emerging markets clearly presents untapped opportunities for global retailers. With the shifting dynamics of the global real estate landscape, the Cityscape Global Exhibition 2012 comes at a perfect time when emerging markets are showing growth and excellent investment opportunities. Taking place from 2 – 4 October at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Cityscape Global will once again bring together a myriad of real estate investors, developers, architects, designers and other real estate professionals from around the globe in the region’s largest and most influential international real estate event. We look forward to seeing you there. Anna Amin Editor Project Director Simon Cole Editor Anna Amin Design Davis Mathai Advertising Adam Fox Contributors Anna Amin, Simon Cole, Rohan Marwaha Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this magazine is correct, Cityscape cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies contained within the publication. All information contained in the magazine is under copyright to Cityscape and cannot be reproduced or transmitted in any form without first obtaining written permission from the publisher. Partnership Enquiries: Advertising Enquiries: Editorial Enquiries: Simon Cole Tel: +971 (0) 4407 2640 Adam Fox Tel: +971 (0) 4408 2801 Anna Amin Tel: +971 (0) 4408 2898 Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com Cityscape Media, Informa Exhibitions, P.O. Box 28943, Dubai, UAE OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 5
CONTENTS 5 Editor’s letter LATEST NEWS Regional 8 • Asteco online property auction • Recovery for Cairo’s real estate market 10 Qatar residential property rates gain traction 12 • KSA’s first property search portal • Aldar Properties revenue grows • UAE Expo bid masterplan 13 • Hamptons MENA extends valuation services • Sharjah Waterfront boost the emirate’s cultural identity Asia 21 • Growth in Qingdao’s retail market • Caution prevails in India’s retail real estate 22 • Trump Tower Manila breaks ground • Phuket is 2012’s hotel investment hotspot Europe 29 • Istanbul office market performs well • Germany commercial investment down • Poland to hit EUR 2,5 billion investment total • Positive signs in Sweden’s office and industrial sectors • Prime central London rents slip • UK mortgage activity bounces back 18 Dubai During the first half of 2012, rents have bounced back in the region’s once hottest real estate market and investor confidence is returning to the emirate. 23 27 Architecture DNA Barcelona Architects create iconic buildings designed to become a reference in the skyline of their respective cities. 48 51 Sustainability Masdar City is Abu Dhabi’s vision to create one of the world’s most sustainable cities in the heart of the UAE. Retail As the world is becoming a borderless global marketplace, emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil are the primary drivers of growth. India Despite large-scale opportunities for real estate and infrastructure development, Indian cities mainly attract domestic investors who are familiar the market. Vietnam As the economy is picking up, foreign investors are seeking to capitalise on the long-term growth predicted in the country. EUROPE INSIGHT 32 Greece With property prices down as much as 20 per cent, herds of overseas buyers rush to purchase property in one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. INDUSTRY PAGES MIDDLE EAST INSIGHT Oman The Sultanate is realising its immense potential to evolve into a major tourist destination. Now time is ripe to invest in Oman’s hospitality sector. 45 ASIA INSIGHT Americas 38 • Washington Union station to be transformed • Growth in US high-tech office markets 14 REGULAR FEATURES 36 Albania In the light of the weakening Euro and uncertainty about the common currency, Albania emerges as an attractive investment destination. 53 A day in the life of…a property expert 54 Cityscape Global 2012 A preview to the region’s largest and most influential international real estate event 55 Conference preview Global Real Estate Summit, Retail City Conference and World Architecture Congress 56 In the next edition A snapshot of our December edition’s editorial highlights AMERICAS INSIGHT 40 Brazil A rapidly growing middle class coupled with an immense housing supply deficit offer excellent investment conditions in Latin America’s superpower. SPECIAL FOCUS 42 Australia A stable economy, fuelled by a boom in the mining and resource sector increasingly attracts global funds to the land down under. 6 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012 Inside: Invest in Turkey A special supplement covering the Turkish real estate market with a focus on investment, retail and tourism.
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REGIONAL NEWS ‘Lots’ to gain for Asteco with online property auction L ast month, UAE-based Asteco Property Management announced a new partnership with international real estate auction-marketing company, LFC International Real Estate Brokerage. As online auctions continue to gain traction globally as an accepted method to buy and sell real estate, the new partnership between Asteco and LFC will give Asteco’s clients a competitive advantage over traditional real estate sales and marketing tactics, while delivering broader exposure and accessibility to investors across the globe. “The real estate market in the UAE, particularly Dubai, continues to draw a significant amount of interest from institutional and private investors from overseas. Furnishing these financiers with the opportunity to invest in local property through a safe, secure and transparent online auction will undoubtedly make it more convenient and therefore even more popular,” said Elaine Jones, CEO, Asteco Property Management. LFC is a member of the US-based LFC Group of Companies, which has been auction-marketing residential, retail, commercial properties as well as land, worldwide for over 35 years. The partnership aligns Asteco’s strategic goal to deliver internationally-recognised sales and management solutions, by providing their clients with the capability to market properties internationally via an online auction. “LFC has successfully auction-marketed thousands of properties, with sales in excess of $5 billion and for the last seven years, has conducted real estate auctions exclusively online,” commented Bill Lange, CEO & President of LFC. Typically the process for an owner to sell their property via the online auction begins with submitting an agreement, establishing the minimum bid and setting the bid deadline, which is usually 30 days after the property’s profile page is ‘live’ on the auction website Freedom Realty Exchange -FRE.com. Interested buyers can then view property images and conduct due diligence directly from the website, as well as place their Elaine Jones, CEO, Asteco bids. Once the auction concludes and the reserve price has been met, the highest bidder is contacted, a solicitor is instructed to carry out all legalities, contracts are exchanged, funds released and the sale is completed. “We live in a digital age and along with QR codes and smart phone ‘apps’ clearly online auctions have an integral part to play in the virtual property marketing mix, both now and in the future,” added Jones l Recovery for Cairo’s Real Estate Market D uring Q2 2012, Cairo’s real estate market has shown signs of recovery following Egypt’s recent political and economic challenges that impacted the country’s real estate market, a recent Jones Lang LaSalle Cairo Real Estate Market Overview has shown. “While many real estate projects have seen significant delays, the construction process is still alive. The demand for major retail and commercial projects and the need to provide more affordable housing is ensuring that significant levels of new supply remain under construction,” the report said. Hotel The tourism sector in Egypt is gradually improving with the number of tourists (4.4 million) increasing by 29% Jan-May 2012 compared to the same period of 2011. With increased tourist arrivals over the first half of 2012 (up by 26% over same period of 2011), the Cairo hotel market is starting to recover but performance remains well below the levels seen in 2010, before the revolution. Average daily rates have also increased over the first six months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, reaching USD 60, the report said. Office The market has witnessed an increase in demand for office space, mainly on the east side of Cairo (New Cairo & Maadi). Jones Lang LaSalle reports 8 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012 an approximate 70,000 square metres of current potential demand for new office space. Retail Despite Egypt’s recent challenges, the supply of mall based retail space in Cairo has continued to increase with new openings over the past two years including Sun City Mall and Mall Of Arabia. Carrefour has opened one more hyper market in Alexandria at Orouba Mall, located to the west of the city. The mall has a Gross Leasable Area of 36,000 sq m and will host a number of international and local brands. Residential There has been a major shift from high end luxury villas to apartments aimed at middle income earners within gated compounds over the past two years, as this sector was previously under supplied, JLL reports. Major developers such as Palm Hills Development (PHD) and 6th of October Development & Investment Company (SODIC) have led this shift towards mid-priced apartments. Emaar & Amer Group have attracted additional demand by extending their payment plans to offer 7 to 10 year programs. “Egypt’s real estate scene is expected to flourish in the medium term. This potential will however only be realised once the current uncertainties are removed and investors have a clearer idea of where Egypt is heading under President Mursi,” the report commented l
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REGIONAL NEWS Qatar residential property rates gain traction A lthough on average, only marginal rental increases were witnessed across Qatar’s residential locations, strong demand for one and twobedroom apartments pushed their rental rates up by 8% compared with Q1, according to the Qatar Q2 2012 report from property management company Asteco. “Demand for one-and two-bedroom apartments is now beginning to outstrip supply in various locations, particularly in the Diplomatic District and the Pearl-Qatar, both offering good quality accommodation, something tenants from mature overseas markets, will not compromise on,” commented Jed Wolfe, Managing Director, Asteco Qatar. Rental growth for the remainder of the year may be limited, as a significant amount of apartments are scheduled to complete by the year end, but Wolfe remained upbeat. “If demand continues to grow at this pace, the market could acquire a healthy supply and demand balance particularly in the one- and twobedroom category,” he added. The highest average rental rate for either a one-or two-bedroom apartment at the Pearl-Qatar in Q2 was QAR 9,750 (USD 2,680) and QAR 13,000 (USD 3,570) per month respectively. Overall average villa rental rates were also up 4% due once again to supply and demand dynamics. The most expensive area, West Bay Lagoon, 10 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012 averaged QAR 23,500 (USD 6,450) per month for a four-bedroom villa, while in Al Khraytiyat a similar property costs QAR 9,750 (USD 2,680) per month. “The most modern, high quality and well serviced compounds, are now developing waiting lists for prospective tenants, such is the demand,” added Wolfe. The residential sales market witnessed no material change in Q2, enquiry levels remained constant, but with a marked increase for oneand two-bedroom apartments, following the rental trend. That demand predominantly came from individual Qatari investors using property as an alternative to holding cash reserves. “The smaller unit sizes also allow investors to limit their risk, by depositing limited equity, when using a mortgage to finance the purchase,” said Wolfe. One major news story that surfaced recently was that United Development Company (UDC) the developer of the Pearl-Qatar, announced that it planned a reduction in the master community service charge of around 33%. “This reduction is due to take effect imminently and when combined with the possibility that Qtel could acquire the full communications network to offer voice, broadband internet and TV entertainment, will have a positive effect on investors through lower operational costs and added-value for tenants,” said Wolfe l
REGIONAL NEWS Saudi Arabia’s first professional property search portal S audi Arabia’s internet penetration rate has increased dramatically over the past decade, from just 5 per cent in 2001 to around 47.5 per cent in 2011. The Kingdom’s internet subscribers are now estimated at nearly 14 million, representing half of the country’s population. With 2 million homes needed by 2014 to cater to a population that has quadrupled over the past 40 years, the internet is emerging as a potent platform for property seekers to swiftly, conveniently and efficiently find available properties and interact with reputable agents and developers who in turn will be able to reach out to a broader market. eSimsar.com, Saudi Arabia’s first professional property search portal that only lists properties by licensed real estate agents and developers in the Kingdom, plans to build on both the exponential growth in internet usage and the major real estate boom currently being witnessed in Saudi Arabia, to connect more property seekers with agents and developers. eSimsar.com’s portal, which displays properties for sale and rent, provides a user-friendly and convenient search platform for residential and commercial property seekers. Visitors can browse through property sale and rental offers and acquire information on details such as floor plan, build and land area, price, real estate developer, pictures, description and more for free. They can also select the Estate Companies option where they can view developer information and property listings. For real estate companies, eSimsar.com enables them to reach a fresh online market at a very affordable subscription fee. The portal also facilitates the display of complete and clear property details not possible otherwise via conventional media. Real estate companies benefit as well, as seekers will contact and deal with them directly rather than through third-party agents. “Internet is emerging as a vital platform for doing business across Saudi Arabia and reaching out to the Kingdom’s increasingly tech-savvy population. Since its launch a few months ago eSimsar.com has generated huge interest and proven the suitability of the internet as a productivity tool for major real estate companies such as Rafal, Urjuan, Cayan, Affordable House and Al-Zamil, and a convenient and reliable resource for prospective residential and commercial property seekers. We are working on more features and improvements to optimise the internet’s use as an information and business hub for the real estate sector’s stakeholders,” said Tarek Zeitoun, Managing Director, eSimsar.com eSimsar.com aims to cover all real estate companies across the Kingdom to provide comprehensive search content for seekers. The portal is currently reaching out to around 5,000 real estate offices in Riyadh and will move on to other key cities in Saudi Arabia l Aldar reports significant revenue growth for Q2 2012 UAE Expo bid masterplan A ldar Properties PJSC, Abu Dhabi’s leading property development investment and management company, recently announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2012 with revenue for the period increasing 497% to AED 4,631.2 million (Q2 2011: AED 775.7 million) and net profit of AED 417.9 million up 228% from AED 127.3 million during the same period last year. Revenues were driven by the successful handover of 1,058 residential units on Al Raha Beach units. The company ended the period with a strong cash and liquidity position. At the end of the period, cash balances were AED 2,459.6 million and AED 3.2 billion of available liquidity from the credit facility with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, providing the Company with ample working capital and liquidity to deliver on its business plan. Aldar’s ongoing programme of debt reduction continued during the quarter with repayments totalling AED 4.3 billion, including the early retirement of AED 1.9 billion term loan. This brings total borrowings down to AED 14,358 million (December 2011 AED 18,295 million) at the end of the period. Aldar benefits from highly predictable and stable ongoing cash flows with AED 12 billion cash still to be received from the three main asset sale agreements signed with the Government of Abu Dhabi between 2009 and 2011. The Government asset sale agreements also provide a source of stable earnings, including AED 3.6 billion of revenue still to be recognised relating to serviced land sales at Al Raha Beach. These contracted sales provide the foundation for Aldar’s strong ongoing revenue and cash flow visibility over the coming quarters. Ali Eid AlMheiri, Chairman of Aldar Properties commented: “Impressive quarterly performance has been driven by the delivery of a substantial volume of units to our customers including the Government of Abu Dhabi. This stability enables us to focus on our long-term strategy - to remain Abu Dhabi’s pre-eminent developer. We have a strong pipeline of development projects to deliver over the second half of the year and into 2013 and we look forward to contributing profitably to Abu Dhabi’s future real estate pipeline.” 12 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012 T wo leading international consultancies have been appointed to support the development of the masterplan for Dubai Trade CentreJebel Ali, the UAE’s proposed site for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has been mandated to carry out a site analysis and legacy masterplan review and will develop a long-term land use plan, providing a sustainable development strategy for both the Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali site and surrounding areas. Consultancy and construction company Mace has also been engaged by the Expo 2020 team to assist with cost management and planning, working closely alongside the bid masterplan architects to develop the overall scope of this important project. Mace has previously served as a delivery partner for the infrastructure for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games and was also responsible for the construction of the award winning UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010. In addition to JLL and Mace, numerous international architectural and design firms are currently working on the site masterplan. “As this announcement demonstrates, we continue to strengthen the team leading the masterplan development of this specialised, highly connected 438-hectare site,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, CEO of the Dubai World Trade Centre and member of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. “By partnering with the most expert firms from across the globe, we will ensure that Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali serves as an ideal site to host the 2020 Expo — and as a permanent attraction, contributing to the city’s long-term appeal as a premier destination for global events,” Al Marri further commented. “We are aware of the hugely beneficial impact that these events can have on their host cities. We think Dubai and the UAE has an extremely strong case to be selected for Expo 2020 and are delighted to be part of the bid team,” said Alan Robertson, CEO of JLL Middle East and North Africa. “We are committed to helping establish a legacy through large-scale city planning schemes and we are delighted to work on such a significant global event alongside the Dubai World Trade Centre,” Stephen Pycroft, Chairman and CEO of Mace added l
REGIONAL NEWS Hamptons MENA to offer valuation services for audit and secured finance P roperty services company Hamptons MENA offers specialised advisory service and valuations of all real estate assets including offices, retail, residential, industrial, hospitality and special uses such as power stations, hospitals and schools for secured lending, litigation, transactional purposes, rent and sale advice, audit, landlord and tenant negotiations and rent reviews. The company has a strong Valuations & Research Department with a team of qualified valuation experts providing exclusive reports for individual and business requirements. The valuation service has recently been strengthened in line with the current thrust by the financial institutions to have scientific valuation reports to evaluate financing requirements. These reports also assist in undertaking audits, thus giving a fair value of the property under consideration. “With a strong track-record in undertaking property services in the region and working closely with the various industry stakeholders, Hamptons MENA has strong domain knowledge of the property market. Today with demand for complex valuations on the rise, we have strengthened our Valuation & Research Department’s offerings to provide special reports that suit a wide array of customer requirements,” a spokesperson of Hamptons MENA said. The Valuation & Research Department employs a range of comprehensive methodologies to undertake the valuation services covering mixed-use developments, residences, commercial property, retail outlets, industrial developments, hotels and land. The reports are undertaken in accordance with the parameters outlined by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors using advanced software systems. The valuation services are undertaken across all property developments in the UAE and other parts of the MENA region by highly experienced staff members and by leveraging an efficient database. Among the clientele of the company are renowned banks, financial institutions and corporations. Hamptons MENA offers the full spectrum of property services including residential and commercial property sales, residential and commercial leasing and property management, international property sales, valuations, research and feasibility studies, and independent mortgage consultancyl Al Majaz Waterfront boosts Sharjah’s tourist and cultural identity A l Majaz Waterfront, the debut project of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and the newest leisure and tourist destination in the Emirate, which was opened in December 2011, has seen a vast public turnout throughout the month of Ramadan and the three days of Eid Al Fitr, thus establishing itself as one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the country. During the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, Al Majaz Waterfront firmly established itself as a favored destination for families - a fact that is attributed to the rich and diverse programme of activities offered by Shurooq, which was designed specifically to meet the different tastes of all members of the family, and which succeeded in bringing together families from various cultural backgrounds in one place to enjoy the cultural combination that reflects the resilience of the Emirati community and its deep-rooted culture. Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer of Shurooq, said: “Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr this year were exceptional for Al Majaz Waterfront, especially as it was the first opportunity for this landmark location to welcome tourists and visitors on such an important festive occasion.” Al Qaseer added: “In light of significance of the occasion, we were eager to offer competitive yet unique events and shows that would appeal to families. We were able to achieve this goal, the proof of which was clearly manifested in the strong turnout of visitors at Al Majaz Waterfront. Looking forward, we are considering new plans to enhance our approach towards making this location a truly sustainable destination for families and tourists.” The Eid package of activities at Al Majaz Waterfront comprised various events including multimedia shows on the fountain, cinema screenings, poetry as well as a host of workshops for children. Community members praised Al Majaz Waterfront’s various amenities and commended the arrangement and organisation of the various events and activities, all of which were specially designed for Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr. Visitors also lauded the outstanding attention and special care afforded to the children’s play areas in terms of safety and flexibility, as well as the availability of restaurants, rest and relaxation spaces, the Sharjah Fountain and various other modern and attractive facilities l OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 13
OMAN Sunrise for the sleeping beauty Blessed with fascinating natural beauty and supported by increasing infrastructure improvement in the region, Oman is realising its immense potential to evolve into a major tourist destination. Now, time is ripe to invest in the Sultanate’s hospitality sector, experts believe. 14 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012
OMAN N estled on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the east, the Sultanate of Oman covers an area of roughly 310,000 square kilometres and currently has a population of nearly three million. Oman is an absolute monarchy, headed by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. In 2011, the revolutionary wave that swept across many Arab nations was also felt in Oman where several demonstrations occurred. Protesters were demanding salary increases, the creation of more jobs and called for a fight against corruption. As a response to the uprisings, the Sultan pledged to create more jobs, implement reforms and grant more powers to the Council of Oman. In January this year, the government announced plans to boost budget spending by 26 per cent in its five-year plan, (ending in 2015), in order to create jobs and improve living standards in the country. According to the April 2012 Oman property market update by property consultants Cluttons, the Gulf state’s economy showed significant growth during 2011. GDP was up 23.3 per cent against the previous year and rose to nearly $52 billion. Like many countries in the region, Oman relies heavily on oil and gas resources but is increasingly looking at implementing economic diversification strategies. In 2011, the country’s contribution of non-petroleum activities to GDP grew by 13.1 per cent, Cluttons reports. The industrial sector grew by 18 per cent, mainly due to growth in the manufacturing sector while the service sector showed growth of 11.5 per cent. Analysts also expect the Sultanate’s financial sector to grow throughout 2012. According to a recent report by credit ratings and research firm Moody’s, the outlook on Oman’s banking system remains stable, reflecting the country’s benign operating environment, which is underpinned by high oil prices and increased government spending. According to Moody’s, this will continue to support Omani banks’ lending growth and profitability, and sustain their solid funding bases over the next 12 to 18 months. Gaining recognition as a tourist destination For years, Oman has been widely regarded as more of a secret holiday destination, far away from mass tourism and overcrowded beaches. Today, things are starting to look a little different. Earlier this year, Muscat has been chosen as the 2012 Capital for Arab Tourism by the Arab Tourism Ministers’ Council, and has also been ranked as the second best city in the world to visit in 2012 by Lonely Planet. In addition to this, the Sultanate was also ranked in the top 20 destinations in the world by National Geographic magazine, as the only Arab country on the list. “The fact that Oman has been identified as one of the premier tourist destinations in the world by publications such as National Geographic and Lonely Planet will help to further raise the Sultanate’s profile to international tourists and should act as a spur for inbound tourism,” said Matthew Wright, Associate Director of Strategic Consultancy & Industrial at Cluttons Oman. Wright added that significant efforts have also been made to increase awareness of the Sultanate by staging international sporting events such as the Asian Beach Games 2011, the Beach Handball World Championship 2012 and the recent choice of Wadi Shab for the final event of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2012. “An increase in tourism numbers in the Sultanate would naturally provide a boost for the potential for further real estate development in the hospitality sector. Raising Oman’s profile to the international tourism market will be one of the keys to achieving this,” he said. Initiatives to boost tourism Several ambitious projects show that Oman indeed aims to flourish into a tourism hotspot and finally do justice to its unrivalled natural beauty and stunning coastline. According to the Ministry of Tourism, which has a clearly defined marketing and promotional strategy, the Sultanate aims to attract a potential 12 million visitors by 2020 (from approximately 1.6 million in 2010). Muscat International Airport is currently being expanded in a $1.8 billion project and will be able to accommodate more than 12 million annual visitor arrivals once completed in 2014. Construction includes a new terminal building, 32 air bridges and an additional runway while the existing runway will be upgraded to handle the super-sized Airbus A380. Last year, Muscat also saw the opening of the Royal Opera House which “An increase in tourism numbers in the Sultanate would naturally provide a boost for the potential for further real estate development in the hospitality sector” OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 15
OMAN is designed to attract tourists from all over the world. Government plans also exist to turn the recently discovered Friday Mosque in Qalhat, an ancient city that has been largely protected by human development, into a major tourist attraction with the construction of an archaeological park and a museum at the site. In an effort to increase its global recognition, the country is also currently building the $1 billion Oman Conference and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) in Muscat, due for completion in 2016. According to OCEC, “this world-class facility is ideally suited to host international, regional and national conventions, exhibitions and business events.” Amongst numerous facilities, the Centre will include a tiered auditorium with a capacity of up to 3,200 people and will offer 22,000 square metres of total exhibition space. Over recent years, the region’s cruise ship industry has experienced steady growth as a result of increased passenger handling capacities by major aviation hubs such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Doha, as well as the entry of new cruise companies into the market. While several Gulf States are redeveloping their cruise ship facilities, Oman is also progressing with a masterplan to transform Port Sultan Qaboos into a worldclass cruise destination. According to the Ministry of Tourism, Muscat’s cruise ship passenger arrivals soared to 231,100 in 2010/2011 from just 44,885 in 2007 while this number is expected to exceed 300,000 by 2015. Earlier this year, Oman Tourism has introduced its high value stopover campaign in conjunction with Oman Air and a number of Oman Conference & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) OCEC hotels. The campaign offers travellers ‘One Free Night in Oman,’ designed to attract cost conscious consumers. “Launched in February this year, this joint venture of the Oman Ministry of Tourism, Oman Air and the hotels is expected to bring a boom and has already shown a marvellous response,” said Haitham Mohammed Ghasani, Director of Tourism Promotion at the Oman Ministry of Tourism. In June, Oman Air announced that its net passenger revenue grew by 28 per cent compared to the same period last year, making 2012 the airline’s most successful year in its history so far. Passenger numbers also grew by 19 per cent the carrier said. This summer, Air Arabia, the region’s low cost carrier, also launched direct flights to Salalah from the UAE in an effort to boost tourism to the city, which over the summer months becomes a popular holiday destination in the region due to its significantly cooler monsoon climate. In another effort to boost tourism, the government has reduced the cost of a short term tourist visa by 75 per cent from $52 to $13. Hospitality real estate Earlier this year, Oman has announced the construction of a $ 1 billion tourist resort in Salalah, the Sultanate’s second largest city. In addition to this, several large integrated tourism complexes are currently under development, including Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ ‘The Wave,’ a luxury housing project resort in Muscat. “Given the opportunities offered by Oman, we are currently working on 16 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012 three proposed hotels in The Wave – our master-planned community in the Sultanate,” said Salman Haider, Managing Director of Majid Al Futtaim Properties at a recent industry event. Spread over 2.5 million square metres, the development will feature an 18-hole green golf course, a 300 berth marina, 4 luxury hotels, over 4,000 apartments, villas and townhouses in addition to retail and restaurant outlets. The development was also first in the Sultanate to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of freehold property and has already sold 25 per cent of its total properties, CEO Michael Lenarduzzi said. Other projects include the $1.7 billion hotel complex Jebel Sifah, located south of Muscat which has five hotels, 950 residential units, a golf course, marina and commercial centres, developed by Orascom, as well as Salam Yiti, developed by Sama Dubai. In July this year, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Omani Ministry of Tourism for the development of three world-class leisure destinations in the Sultanate. The Ras Al Hadd development, which forms part of the latest MoU, has a 5-star hotel and spa, residential villas, apartments, souks, a marina and villa plots, while the second of the three developments features a 5-star luxury resort hotel and spa as well as residential villas and apartments. The third project will have a yacht club and marina, a sports academy, and three boutique hotels. Despite the current investment in the Sultanate’s hospitality
OMAN infrastructure, Wright suggests investors should act carefully, saying that the significant pipeline of proposed hotels in the Muscat capital area currently in the planning or development stage would effectively double the supply of 3 to 5 star hotel rooms in the capital area over the next five years, adding between 3,500 to 4,000 rooms to the Muscat market. “In light of declines in hotel occupancy levels over recent years, it is evident that the hotel sector in Muscat is in danger of entering an oversupply if all of the proposed projects are developed over the next few years, particularly in the 4 and 5 star sector,” he said. “We consider that investment in the hospitality sector in the Sultanate will need to be very carefully considered and targeted for the foreseeable future. With a potential oversupply of 4 and 5 star hotels, we would identify potential gaps in the market as being boutique hotels in niche locations and the budget to mid range sector,” Wright added. “An example of a well considered hotel development in a niche location is the Al Jabal Akhdar Resort Hotel in the Hajar Mountains which is currently being constructed by the Government’s tourism development arm, Omran. The hotel will provide 86 luxury rooms on completion in late 2013 and will be operated by the Singapore based hotel chain, Alila,” he further commented. Cluttons considers that the Al Jabal Akhdar Resort Hotel will provide a mountain top facility which will complement rather than directly compete with the higher end hotels currently available and proposed in Muscat. Challenges Despite the government’s initiatives to heavily boost the tourism sector, Cluttons identifies both external and internal challenges the Sultanate’s tourism industry faces. Wright commented: “The main external challenge to the growth of the tourism sector is the ongoing fragility of the global economy following the global financial crisis of 2008. This has and continues to act as a significant constraint on development of the tourism sector, particularly with respect to increasing tourist numbers from the traditional source markets in the West. A recent initiative by the Ministry of Tourism has refocused its marketing strategy with a greater emphasis on the GCC and Indian markets.” “The Sultanate’s culture, heritage and natural beauty provide outstanding attributes to form the foundations on which to build the tourism sector. We consider that the main internal challenge for the Sultanate will be to facilitate real estate development catering to the requirements of the hospitality sector but which avoids compromising the unique features that attract visitors in the first instance,” Wright concluded l “The Sultanate’s culture, heritage and natural beauty provide outstanding attributes to form the foundations on which to build the tourism sector” OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 17
UAE ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY During the first half of 2012, Dubai’s property market has bounced back as rents and sales prices in the emirate’s most sought after areas have increased. Coupled with an increase in tourist arrivals, investor confidence is returning to the region’s once hottest real estate market. 18 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012
UAE J ust in time when Dubai has announced its bid to host the World Expo 2020, positive news about the Gulf state’s property market performance walk the beat and once again stimulate global investor confidence. According to projections by the Dubai Economic Council, the Dubai economy is expected to grow by between 4 per cent and 5 per cent in 2012. The GDP growth is expected to be driven by strong trade and tourism sectors. According to the CBRE Q2 2012 Dubai Market View, the UAE continues to see positive economic growth whilst foreign direct investment (FDI) is also on the rise. During 2011, FDI into the country witnessed a huge increase of nearly 40 per cent, totalling USD 7.7 billion compared with USD 5.5 billion in 2010 (World Investment Report 2012, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ). The Jones Lang LaSalle Q2 2012 Real Estate Market Overview states: “Signs of improved investor confidence have flowed into the real estate sector, with continued demand for quality, well located, income producing assets. The main transactions that took place in the first half of 2012 were the sale of Building 6 in Gate Precinct in DIFC and the transfer of the 50% Kerzner share in Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah to Istithmar World. In addition, around 11,400 sq ft of mixed use space was sold in Burj Khalifa in June.” “The UAE has higher rental returns than some of the most popular locations for property investment in the world. With yields at 6.89 per cent, the UAE offers much higher rental returns than for example the UK and more than double the rental yield of Hong Kong” Real Estate Transparency According to Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2012, Dubai maintained its status as MENA’s most transparent real estate market. In addition to this, JLL reports that a new law aiming at protecting real estate investors from delays or unilateral changes will soon be issued by the Dubai Land Department. According to the latest draft of the law, investors can cancel their contracts and get their money back in cases where developers violate the terms and conditions. “The new law is expected to pressurise developers to finish their projects and increase investor confidence. It will also ensure more transparency and better regulation of the real estate market,” the firm said. Residential real estate According to CBRE, the residential market in Dubai continues to outperform the commercial office sector with average lease rates for apartments and villas reflecting positive growth during the first half of 2012. “Lease rates in established community locations have been appreciating at notably higher levels, outperforming the wider market,” the CBRE report said. The firm observed a rental growth of 5 to 8 per cent in established areas such as The Greens and Downtown Dubai while newer districts such as Jumeirah Village witnessed a 5 per cent drop in lease rates. Data from property management company Asteco shows that quality residential developments in Dubai bounced back during Q2 2012, with average rent increases of 6% for apartments and 9% for villas. Sales prices recorded double-digit increases in three developments, with rises of 6-8% elsewhere. “After three years of declining rates and limited sales activity, the real estate market is on the way to recovery, with established quality communities showing increases in values and higher transaction volumes,” said Elaine Jones, CEO at Asteco. Abu Dhabi’s leasing market was also extremely active in the first half of the year and is expected to remain so for the remainder of the year, with “demand being driven by continued internal movement filtering through to all sub-sectors of the residential market and leading to further rental adjustments as an additional 7,000 new apartments and 4,560 villas ready for release in the next six months” (Asteco). Increased residential sales transactions in H1 2012 were credited primarily to the completion of designated investment area projects and the availability of competitive mortgage interest rates and attractive selling prices. “Investors have started to re-enter the market since rental return prospects have started to improve due to price reductions and more affordable mortgage options,” said Jones. Abu Dhabi’s commercial real estate sector also enjoyed positive levels of transactional activity, again fuelled by internal movement. Asteco reports that as landlords become more competitive, tenants who previously adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude have increasingly begun to commit. There was also a substantial increase in enquiry levels as the new law requiring companies to operate from purpose-built offices came into effect and demand was led by fitted-out buildings with good parking ratios and competitive pricing. UAE offers high rental returns A recent report by Global Property Guide has revealed that the UAE is among the top 5 countries in the MENA region in terms of rental yields. The study compared the rental yields of apartments, all about 120 square metres in size, across various countries. With gross rental yields of 6.89 per cent per annum, the UAE ranks slightly behind Jordan, but is ahead of Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon. “The UAE has higher rental returns than some of the most popular locations for property investment in the world. With yields at 6.89 per cent, the UAE offers much higher rental returns than for example the UK and more than double the rental yield of Hong Kong” said Niall Mc Loughlin, Senior Vice President of DAMAC Properties, commenting on the report. Another important factor for investors to consider is the favorable tax environment in the UAE. Rental income is tax free, and there are no capital gains taxes levied on the sale of properties. “Now that prices have stabilised in premium locations, the high yields make investing in the UAE property market an attractive proposition for any global investor,” said Mc Loughlin. OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 19
UAE Dubai International Airport Hotel sector Positive economic signs also include the strong performance of Dubai’s aviation sector with an increase of 13 per cent in passenger numbers as compared to the same period last year (CBRE). According to JLL, Dubai International Airport is expected to overtake London’s Heathrow and become the third busiest international airport by 2020, handling 100 million passengers per annum. The emirate is investing around USD 7.8 billion as part of the airport’s expansion plan. MasterCard’s Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities ranked Dubai as the world’s number eight tourist destination, outshining cities such as New York, Barcelona and Rome. The index predicts visitor spending in Dubai to increase by 19% in 2012 reaching USD 8.8 billion, while visitor numbers are projected to reach 8.8 million in 2012, up 15% compared with the previous year (JLL). The strong performance of the tourism sector and increasing number of visitors has also supported a growth in the hotel and hospitality sector. According to JLL, the recovery of the hotel sector witnessed during 2011 20 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012 has continued further over the first half of 2012, with occupancy levels improving to 83% from 79% in the same period last year. “The positive upswing in tourism volumes in Dubai has raised confidence levels and following a slowdown witnessed in the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of announced projects in the city including the Four Seasons Dubai, three hotels (St. Regis, Westin and W) at the Metropolitan site and some midscale properties in the Bur Dubai / Deira area,” JLL said. In 2012, around 4,500 additional guest rooms are expected to be completed in Dubai with major projects including JW Marriott Marquis (Business Bay), Al Khor Rayhaan (Al Ghurair City), Fairmont The Palm and Conrad Sheikh Zayed Road. Taking place for the 11th time from 2 – 4 October 2012 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Cityscape Global is expected to grow by 25 per cent this year; a definite sign that investors and developers from around the globe look to the region for promising business opportunities l
ASIA NEWS Positive growth for Qingdao’s retail real estate market C hina’s retail sector is growing, and with it are the malls across the country. Recently, Qingdao has made headlines with several shopping centres currently under development and in the planning stages, the June 2012 Jones Lang LaSalle China Property Market Monitor said. CapitaMalls plans to build 100,000 sqm shopping mall in Qingdao’s Sifang District. According to the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce, Singapore’s CapitaMalls plans to develop a 100,000 square metre shopping mall in New City Heart Area. With many residential projects already under construction and Metro Line 3 scheduled to run through the area upon completion in 2014, Sifang’s government has made the development of this area a priority. On 26 May, Zendai Plaza, located at the intersection of Haier Road and Tongan Road in Laoshan, Qingdao, officially opened with 75,000 square metres of retail space. The first integrated urban complex in Laoshan, Zendai Plaza features serviced apartments, a hotel and a shopping mall. The mall features a 17,000 square metre China Resources Vanguard supermarket, H&M (1,500 sqm), Uniqlo (2,000 sqm), China Film Cinema, Watsons (560 sqm) and F&B outlets. The commitment rate is currently over 90% and the occupancy rate is at 80%. The third Wanda Plaza in Qingdao is expected to open in Licang District in September. Brands that have secured spaces within the property include Van’s Department Store, China Resources Vanguard, Flyhigh, Wanda Cinemas, Haagen-Dazs and Watsons. Licang Wanda Square is an urban complex with a total gross floor area of approximately 200,000 square metres, in accordance with Wanda’s standard development plans. The mall is expected to open officially this month. “The property market in Qingdao has long benefited from both logistics and tourism industries. In 2011, annual foreign trade of USD 71.3 billion and over 50 million tourist visits provided a strong foundation for the local economy, and boosted demand for office and retail space. In order to meet this demand, by 2015 new supply in the office and retail markets will reach 1.2 million square metres and 2.0 million square metres, respectively. With Government policy support for development in western Qingdao (Huangdao and Jiaonan), we expect accelerating growth and more mixeduse developments to be constructed in these areas,” commented Albert Yeung, Managing Director at JLL Qingdao l Caution prevails in India’s retail real estate sector A ccording to Subash Bhola, Senior Research Manager at Jones Lang LaSalle India, 2012 has been a challenging year for most of the key sectors of the Indian economy, including the retail real estate sector. The demand in terms of net absorption has remained subdued in H1 2012 amid careful expansion by retailers. In H1 2012, net absorption of retail space fell by 57% from the levels seen in H1 2011. The watchful stance by retailers, coupled with the lack of quality malls and the fact that some select quality projects postponed construction, were the main causes for the sluggish absorption, Bhola explained. In the past six months, only 2.3 million sq ft of operational retail space has been added to the market across the top-seven cities of India. On the back of this small supply, the overall vacancy rate declined to 18.8% at the end of Q2 2012. Because of the uncertain economic climate and weaker business sentiment, developers have been and continue to be cautious about new mall launches. In H1 2012, 22% of the total retail supply for 2012 became operational, with the remaining supply in advanced stages of construction and 51% of it ready for fit-out. As compared to other cities, Kolkata and Pune have higher pre-commitments in projects that are ready for fit-out and expected to commence operation in H2 2012, with large spaces signed by anchor retailers and large-format stores in these cities. About 32% of the retail space expected to become operational in H2 2012 is in the ‘50-100% structure ready’ stage. In accordance with the preference of retailers, most of the recent absorption is skewed towards malls with better quality. This trend is largely prevalent in major Tier I cities such as Mumbai and NCR-Delhi. At the end of Q2 2012, NCR-Delhi and Mumbai together accounted for 64% of the total retail space in India, housing 149 of the 240 malls currently operational in the country’s top-seven cities. Persistently high core inflation and lower GDP growth forecasts for 2012/2013 are likely to moderate consumer spending over the coming quarters. The absorption rate is predicted to moderate to 27% by the end of 2012, falling from the 41% figure recorded in 2011. This is due to subdued absorption in H1 2012 and a low level of pre-commitment in the malls expected to commence operations in H2 2012. Because of the limited availability of new malls and the low vacancy rates in the existing prime malls, retailers in cities such as Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore continue to actively lease space on high streets. A policy change could be a significant boost for absorption, and therefore supply; however, it is uncertain when India’s Government will allow FDI in multibrand retail, Bhola concluded l OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 21
ASIA NEWS Trump Tower Manila breaks ground in The Philippines G round works have commenced on the Trump Tower Manila, designed by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan, with the tower set to be the tallest residential skyscraper in the Philippines and Manila’s definitive landmark when completed in 2016. Trump Tower Manila will be the centrepiece of developer Century Properties’ bold and innovative four hectare mixed-use development in the heart of the city’s most prestigious financial and commercial district, Makati City, dubbed ‘MoMa’ or Modern Makati. When completed it will stand approximately 250 metres tall and feature 220 residential units over 58 storeys. Director Ian Simpson, who has led the practice’s team, said: “Ground breaking is a major milestone in the delivery of this landmark project, which has drawn on the skills, expertise and experience of our world-class design team working in partnership with the client, with the tower set to redefine lifestyle living in Asia as well as the Makati skyline” Broadway Malyan’s design is based on the concept of a ‘peeled façade’ of an extruded square, articulated with internal box ledges and external terraces at the top and bottom corners that peel away and accentuate the dynamic form of the tower. An environmentally-responsive skin, featuring light shelves and shading systems to react to the building’s orientation in relation to sun’s path, will help to improve building performance whilst maximising the spectacular panoramic views of the city. The building’s compact footprint and extruded form are designed to balance the architectural delight, of what is set to be the most noticeable icon in the Philippines, with sustainable restraint, with energy consumption reduced through a low surface to volume ratio to set a new benchmark in lifestyle green living. Suites of approximately 57 square metres and above (613 square feet) comprising of one to four bedroom apartments, and penthouses of approximately 425 square metres, will provide a diversity of unit types to cater for different spatial and economic needs. The luxury residences will offer world-class city living with exclusive facilities, with the tower set to be the first condominium in the world to offer a selection of Hermès home collections for its amenities and common areas. Lifestyle is central to the concept and a range of different recreational, health and well-being facilities will be positioned throughout the tower. The intermediary skygarden located on the 30th floor will host amenities including an infinity lap pool, juice bar, gym, stylish spa lounge, treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms, as well as a beauty salon. Meanwhile, the business centre will provide an exclusive space with meeting, function and video rooms, a library, lounge and garden terrace, and a fine-dining restaurant will be located on the ground floor. The tower’s green credentials are further enhanced by a high-performance curtain wall system that incorporates light shelves that act as shading devices as well as a means of bouncing light deeper into the apartments. Vertical fins to the east and west elevations will also counteract the negative attributes of low angle sun, while preserving the panoramic views across the City. A series of sky terraces and extended box ledges of differing sizes will peel back from the façade at the top and bottom corners of the tower to counteract the highest impact of the sun and function as an effective shading device l Phuket is 2012’s hotel investment hotspot A recent report by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said that Phuket hotel investments have surged and are predicted to reach a record THB 10 billon (USD 318 million) in 2012 as international investors target landmark properties. “Phuket has seen record investment in the first half of 2012 and the market looks on track to enter a renewed period of growth as savvy international investors strategically secure landmark properties in Asia’s premier resort destination,” said Mike Batchelor, Managing Director of Investment Sales at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. Since the start of the year, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels has advised on and managed the sale of prominent properties in Phuket, including the acquisition of the 368room Movenpick Resort and Spa, the 260-room Evason Phuket and Bon Island at Ravai, and 254-room Laguna Beach Resort. “With international passenger volumes surging 30% in 2011, the island’s international appeal remains strong. In fact, international visitors to Phuket exceeded domestic arrivals for the first time. This growth has been fuelled by excellent air links and the expansion of low cost carriers across the region,” Batchelor commented. Other factors driving growth to the region include a USD 180 million planned airport upgrade slated to commence later this year, which will double the existing capacity to 12.5 million passengers per annum. In addition, political stability in Thailand since the 2011 elections has seen international confidence return to the region as evidenced in the spate of recent sales, the report added l 22 I CITYSCAPE I OCTOBER 2012
INDIA A TALE OF THREE CITIES Rapid urbanization is expected to offer large-scale opportunities for real estate and infrastructure development in Indian cities. However, issues with regards to policy implementation currently deter the interest from foreign capital while domestic investors almost exclusively focus on Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. OCTOBER 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 23
INDIA A ccording to analysts, India’s economy showed resilience despite the global financial slowdown of 2008 and has reported robust growth over the last three years. With regards to real estate development, Jones La
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