Nakheel May Follow Emaar to Saudi Arabian Projects

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Alma Kadragic | October 11, 2008 3:11 AM ET

(DUBAI, UAE) - With construction projects estimated at more than USD260 billion, it's no wonder that the big developers in the UAE are looking at opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or KSA as it is known in the Middle East. Chris O'Donnell, Nakheel's CEO, said, "Saudi Arabia is a growing market that has made some improvement in its real estate legislative approach, so I think it will open up even more in the next two to three years."

O'Donnell emphasized that no deals have been finalized in KSA, but "we're definitely looking to create long-term relationships with groups in Saudi Arabia." However, this week, Nakheel signed a memorandum of understanding with The Land Holding, a Saudi company, for development of a part of Nakheel's Waterfront project in Dubai.
If Nakheel takes its investment capital to KSA, it will be joining its local rival Emaar Properties which is already engaged in building King Abdullah Economic City north of Jeddah. That project includes a port, industrial zone, and residential housing, somewhat similar to the Jebel Ali development at the southern outskirts of Dubai.
While O'Donnell insists he is confident about the "fundamentals of the Middle East market," Nakheel reacted to the global financial crunch this week by deciding not to list its Reits in Dubai and London or Singapore this year. "What's happening globally is just a normal economic cycle," O'Donnell concluded.

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