L’Armani Hotel di Dubai subisce gli effetti della crisi, soprattutto immobiliare, scoppiata circa un anno fa nel piccolo emiro e nel tempio mondiale del lusso. I prezzi delle camere dell’hotel fatto costruire dallo stilista milanese, sono scesi infatti secondo l’Arabian Business del 40%: una stanza che a fine aprile costava 4.000 Aed a notte (circa 780 euro), ora costa 2.600 Aed (circa 470 euro); una suite con due camere da letto, che a fine aprile costava 40.000 Aed (circa 7.820 euro), ora costa 24.000 Aed (meno di 4.700 euro).
I primi segnali di ripresa tuttavia cominciano a vedersi: secondo ilDepartment of Tourism and Commerce Marketing di Dubai, le prenotazioni all’Armani Hotel sono aumentate del 6%, mentre i turisti in visita all’emirato sono aumentati del 9% nel primo semestre di quest’anno.
There’s a half-off sale in the world’s tallest building.
Even with an address at the iconic Burj Khalifa, rents for residences in the tower are not immune from Dubai’s real estate crash. Indeed, nearly a year after it was inaugurated with a massive water-and-fireworks display, about 825 of the tower’s 900 ultra-luxury apartments remain unoccupied, according to Better Homes, a real estate brokerage in Dubai.
The cost of renting a studio with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble fixtures and wooden floors has dropped to $1,815 a month from $3,025, while a one-bedroom apartment is available for $2,722 (it used to be $4,536), the brokerage says. Two-bedroom residences are expected to get $4,310, down from $7,183. Interested parties “call every few days and go for a viewing,” says Imad Ben Khadra, a Moroccan expatriate who owns two 1,000-sq.-ft. one-bedroom apartments he purchased in late 2008 for about $950,000, both of which he is trying to rent out. “We got some offers [from prospective tenants], but nobody confirms.
Varun Chaudhary bought two two-bedroom residences in the Burj for about $1.5 million in 2005 even before construction began. He saw the value leap from $762 per sq. ft. to $3,811 per sq. ft. at the heights of the boom. Today, those values hover just above his purchase price. But he says he isn’t worried about his investment. “These properties will recuperate faster than other properties because it’s an icon, because it’s only one in the world,” he says. “You just have to say ‘Burj Khalifa.’ That’s the address; you don’t have to explain. It’s a style statement in itself.”
Still, the Burj, with its one-of-a-kind address and amenities like the first-ever Armani Hotel, is only the most high-profile example how Dubai’s once flying real estate market has crashed. Overall in the emirate, property prices have dropped an average of 50%. Some half-built projects, located away from the main highway that runs through the city, may never be completed because their values have dropped too much, analysts say.
But it’s the units that will be completed that are looming as a problem. The Dubai economy must still digest a flood of housing units coming on line or soon to be opened, which will further dampen prices. Through September, 27,000 residential units have been put on the market, and another 9,000 are expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. For 2011, the firm forecasts that about 30,000 new units will come on line. A glut in commercial property has forced landlords to offer previously unheard-of incentives such as free rent and allowances to finish out shell construction space. “They built the infrastructure for a much larger economy than it can [now] attract,” says Wissam Haroun, a Syrian expatriate who owns entertainment and technology companies in Dubai.
Worried about the glut, Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency recently said it was canceling or in the process of canceling about half of all projects registered with the authority. Of about 980 developments, 495 are on the chopping block, according to a Dubai sovereign-bond prospectus made public last week.
Some, however, see opportunity in the depressed prices. “It’s a massive change in terms that it’s no longer the man on the street or the lady on the street buying property on spec or off plan,” says Paul Devonshire, a director with Pramerica Real Estate Investors who specializes in the Middle East and North Africa region. Now, he explains, institutions or more savvy investors are moving in, eyeing distressed or repriced assets.
But the buzz was decidedly subdued at the recent Cityscape Global, the annual real estate exhibition that in the past
featured the launch of glitzy projects like the Palm Trilogy, the world’s largest man-made islands. The name of the event itself had been changed from Cityscape Dubai in order to expand the focus beyond the city-state. Only a fraction of exhibitors — 200, down from around 1,000 during the boom — showed up to participate.
With speculators gone and credit still tight, Dubai is going about the hard work of adjusting to its new economic reality.Top of the list is paying back creditors that helped finance the boom. Over the past decade, Dubai amassed $109 billion in debt, with about $15.5 billion due this year, the International Monetary Fund estimates. Dubai World, one of the three main holding companies controlled by Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, said last month that 99% of its creditors had agreed to alter the terms on $24.9 billion of its debt. Last November, Dubai World sent stock markets around the world tumbling when it announced it wanted a moratorium of its debts. “We are back. Of course we are back,” Sheik Mohammed said in a Bloomberg TV interview last month while attending the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.
But, having been through the financial volatility, few seem to want to part with their cash just yet. The Syrian expatriate Haroun, who has lived in Dubai most of his life and plans to raise his family there, says he would like to buy a home. But his forays into the market so far have left him unsatisfied. “People got stupid rich and stupid poor at the same time,” he says. “I’m glad I stayed out of it.”
Il mitico albergo ospitò attori, scrittori e musicisti squattrinati
New York. Il leggendario Chelsea Hotel di New York è in vendita. L’albergo che ha ospitato per anni artisti del calibro di Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, Eugene ÒNeil, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin e dove Sid Vicious ha presumibilmente pugnalato a morte la fidanzata nel 1978, è nei listini del mercato immobiliare più competitivo d’America. L’edificio costruito nel 1883 e aperto l’anno successivo, era nato come condominio e solo nel 1905 è diventato un hotel.
Grazie alla lunga lista di ospiti e residenti illustri, il Chelsea Hotel ha una storia famosa come luogo di maturazione di artisti e di tragedie amorose che hanno catturato l’attenzione del pubblico. Arthur C. Clarke scrisse «2001: Odissea nello spazio» durante un soggiorno presso il Chelsea, e poeti come Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso e Martin Matz avevano scelto l’albergo come luogo per conversazioni e filosofiche e intellettuali. Andy Warhol ha diretto il film «Chelsea Girl» del 1966, che raccontava la vita della sua Factory, proprio all’interno dell’edificio.
Nel 1966 l’amministrazione cittadina ha attribuito al Chelsea Hotel lo status di «cultural landmark» di New York, confermando la sua appartenenza al patrimonio culturale della città. I proprietari del palazzo hanno annunciato di volerlo vendere, nella speranza che i nuovi padroni possano riportare l’albergo allo splendore di una volta. «Un nuovo proprietario potrebbe recuperare le energie e rivitalizzare il Chelsea» ha dichiarato uno dei membri della società che gestisce l’albergo all’Huffington Post.