By Wendy Cole, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
What a difference two years makes. In early 2008, Dubai’s growth seemed nearly unstoppable. The emboldened emirate of the U.A.E. was actively courting investors from the United States and other nations. There were 5,000 residential and commercial real estate projects in the works. I got a bird’s-eye view of many of these gleeming buildings and subdivisions during a five-day press trip sponsored by Nakheel, one of the major government-owned developers in the city-state. I wrote about the trip in REALTOR® Magazine in February 2008.
Lately, nearly all the news out of Dubai has been about its teetering on the brink of financial collapse. At the eleventh hour last month, neighboring Abu Dhabi came up with $10 billion in bailout funds that seem to have staved off a full-on default by the emirate. But the headlines shifted this week as the world’s tallest skyscraper (though admittedly short on tenants) opened this week in the Persian Gulf community.
The long-awaited Burj Dubai tower, however, has been renamed before its first occupants can even settle in. The 2717 ft. building is now to be referred to as Burj Khalifa, in honor of the neighboring sheikh who is keeping Dubai’s economy quasi-solvent. Relinquishing some of its independence to Sheikh Khalifa and his emirate’s oil-rich reserves may be a tough pill to swallow for upstart Dubai at this moment of intense architectural and civc pride. But both locals and the global community are surely breathing a sigh of relief that the city-state’s future seems assured. And it doesn’t hurt that Macy’s is intending to open in the Burj in the next few months, its first overseas outpost anywhere.