Where will the next vision be built?

Across the Middle East, architectural model-makers are today applying the finishing touches to displays that will fill the halls of the Dubai International Exhibition Centre when the Cityscape circus rolls into town next week.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  November 25, 2006

|~||~||~|Across the Middle East, architectural model-makers are today applying the finishing touches to displays that will fill the halls of the Dubai International Exhibition Centre when the Cityscape circus rolls into town next week.

Every year, this event gets better and better and is worth a look for anyone with even a passing interest in the projects that will be making headlines around the region in the year ahead.

It is also a great place to measure the mood of the sector, even if it may appear to be a Prozac-influenced version of reality.

For contractors, a visit to Cityscape is perhaps the best way of identifying where next year’s tender invitations are likely to be generated.

This year’s show will be about which emirate or state can wrestle the future development spotlight from Dubai. But while the spotlight may be moving, many of the developers will be moving with it.

Emaar, Union Properties, Dubai International Properties, Damac and many other developers that have helped to contribute to Dubai’s real estate phenomenon are moving on and looking to replicate their success in emerging markets.

But the real story of Cityscape 2006 may be closer to home and that is the much anticipated emergence of both Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia as exciting new property markets.

Petrodollars continue to pour into the real estate sector across the Gulf and many of these are finding their way into these two buzz markets.

The emergence of the ‘Economic’ cities in Saudi Arabia and the waterfront-based residential projects taking off in Abu Dhabi will provide lucrative markets for contractors. But the question remains: is there enough capacity to service all of them?

In Qatar, some contractors will have been amused to read this week that the main public works authority is threatening to blacklist contractors involved in late-running projects.

A great idea, but it would probably mean barring every existing contractor in the country from tendering for future work. Late running projects are the rule in the Gulf, not the exception.

That may need to change if the projects announced at next week’s show hope to meet the deadlines that they are currently targeting.||**||

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