Friday, April 01, 2005

Dubai: 'running with the big dogs' -

[Via here's another link to same article being quoted.]

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In addition to the most spectacular hotel in the world, Dubai will shortly have the Burj Dubai, now starting construction, which will be, at over 500 meters, the world's tallest building and abut the world's largest shopping center. The entire project is billed as "the most prestigious square kilometer on the planet." I believe it. Whatever happened to 5th Avenue, Rodeo Drive, and the Champs Elysee? They're part of the Old World. Nice, but relatively quaint. When is the last time something of that stature was erected in the United States, or Europe, for that matter? 30 years ago, with the World Trade Center, or the Sears Tower. And the Burj Dubai isn't topping something in the United States; it's running with the big dogs, Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers and Shanghai's World Financial Center.

You might think that a country that's 100% desert wouldn't need more land. But you can always use more beachfront. Dubai has already constructed The Palm, a development that has been built out into the Gulf and adds 120 km of shoreline, plus thousands of homes, and about 40 new luxury hotels, etc., etc. It's one of the world's greatest engineering projects. But the second Palm is under construction, and the third - which will be about the size of Paris - is planned. The scale of all this is mind-boggling.

Most spectacular of all is The World, a complex of 300 artificial islands to be built 5 km out in the Gulf, resembling a map of the world. The islands range from about 2 to 10 acres apiece, and they're all pre-sold, the cheapest at US$23mm. You buy your island, and you can do whatever you wish on it or with it.
The fact Dubai isn't a recurring feature in most magazines is testimony to how provincial the world still is. What's happening in this part of the Persian Gulf, abutting Saudi Arabia, just about 60 miles across the water from Iran, and about 800 miles from Iraq, is far different - and ultimately far more significant - than anything going on in those places.

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If you are a North American, or a European, and you have a child in high school you very likely send them to Dubai American Academy - which abuts the Burj Dubai mall under construction. As noted in a prior post, DAA will be able to easily field a competitive ski team. The mall will have an indoor ski slope.

Spectacular. Meanwhile, for daily living, I prefer the quiet on the outskirts of Sharjah.

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