IPD Dubai, UAE (May 2016)
Philip was invited to co-chair the IPD Dubai event (Infrastructure & Property Development) together with the most excellent chairman, Mr Gurjit Singh of Dubai World Trade Centre. The event was attended by a broad range of stakeholders in the real estate sectors of the GCC, and Lora and the team did a great job organising and hosting the show. Phil's "takeaway nuggets" are listed below:
- The coolest innovation came from Qatar University, a construction hard-hat fitted with solar panels to power a built-in cooling system and a fan on the front to ensure the cranial comfort of labourers in the emirate.
- There are 172,94 hotel rooms in development and due to open by 2018 in the GCC and the total room count is expected to have increased by 57% between 2014 and 2018. Assuming an average cost per key of USD460,000, the total investment in hotels in this five-year period is estimated to be in the region of USD 79bn.
- Condohotels (the equivalent of buy-to-let in residential, whereby hotel rooms are sold to third-party investors and leased back by the hotel) appear to be selling well off-plan in Turkey, despite the complications entailed for the operator.
- Leases in the Middle East are relatively rare and most often seen in Makka and Medina (where performance levels are relatively stable due to the predictability of demand).
- WOW Buildings (aka the "Bilbao Effect" and "James Bond Developments") are very expensive to realise, but their halo effect can be significant by driving premium pricing in their shadow. Is it possible to have too many WOW Buildings in one place (creating a sculpture park in place of a viable and desirable community)?
- A clever solution to improving worker housing (aka 'single male' accommodation) issues in Qatar is underway, whereby the flexible modules can be reconfigured to suit any combination of inhabitants, dismantled and moved elsewhere for other worker groups (eg hotel staff quarters), or converted to two-star hotel accommodation for 2022.
- A regional economist predicted that oil prices will stabilise at around USD50-55 per barrel over the medium to long term, and GCC countries will have to learn to adopt to a post carbon economy.
- The three theme parks clustered near Jebel Ali (Motion Gate, Legoland and Bollywood) in Dubai Parks & Resorts is expected to have a huge 'multiplier effect', driving an incremental five million visitors per annum.
Istanbul is the largest city in Europe (20m inhabitants), accounts for 40% of Turkey's GDP and a new international airport is being built to the northwest of the city with a capacity of 150m passengers - nearly as big as the new Al Maktoum International in Dubai.