Construction Week Newsletter 17th September 2005

Developers are tripping over themselves to market their latest projects

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 17, 2005

Dubai developments: One-of-a-kind?|~||~||~|This week I was invited to take a helicopter ride over Dubai, a trip on a barge up the Creek and a limousine visit to Abu Dhabi. Too bad I was holding out for the space hopper safari in Ras Al Khaimah, which alas did not materialise. With all these tempting invites arriving by fax, email, and rocket-propelled pigeon, anyone would think there was some sort of international real estate conference in town. And of course there is. Cityscape 2005, where developers from across the region get to parade their scale models in the giant showcase that is the Dubai International Exhibition Centre. All sorts of developments are on display this week, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and developers are tripping over each other to make sure their schemes are in the media spotlight — a few are also tripping over themselves in the process. With column inches in such high demand, the press release prose is becoming more purple by the minute. And there’s no telling where it might all end. But first prize must go to the promoters of the Al Sharq development in Dubailand with an invitation to join them on what is described as a ‘magical journey’. “Join the excitement and wonder as we uncover an amazing hidden discovery… And, watch, as this discovery becomes the next one-of-a-kind destination in Dubai.” So it’s the next one-of-a-kind destination is it? Couldn’t their copywriter have aimed a little higher? Rather implies that being one of a kind has lost its USP in Dubai. There’s the rub. If you are the next one-of-a-kind development, how do you differentiate yourself from the last one-of-a-kind development? And that will be the challenge facing developers exhibiting at this year’s event. Never before have so many leisure-based mega-projects been competing for the attention of the real estate investment community. But even the developers have run out of superlatives to describe their projects. There are no real estate records left to be broken. At least I thought there weren’t until the release from Golfex Dubai arrived unexpectedly like a hole-in-one — announcing that the Emirates Golf Course was about to enter the Guinness Book of Records. . . for the world’s largest tee. Marvellous. Sean Cronin Editor ||**||

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