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UAE to add 55,000 luxury hotel rooms in five years

Dubai: The UAE has 55,000 luxury four and five star hotel rooms that will be completed in the next five years, according to a leading real estate investment and consulting firm.

The hotel division of Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based firm that recently created a presence in Dubai by purchasing local firm RSP Group, said Dubai is leading the market with the confirmed development of more than half of all projects, followed closely by Abu Dhabi.

"Last year, the confirmed pipeline of projects that were under construction or in advanced stages of planning stood at approximately 35,000 rooms," said Arthur de Haast, CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. "During the course of 2006, we have seen an increase in new development schemes emerging to meet the rising tourism and business travel requirements in the country.


"This activity is being driven by an abundance of capital seeking real estate, strong market fundamentals, significant growth in intra-regional travel, and greater awareness of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as tourist destinations," said Thierry Loué, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Mena.

The planned growth in the UAE hospitality industry ranks as the dominant centre of hotel development worldwide. By comparison, Las Vegas has the world's second largest hotel development pipeline with 42,000 rooms, Macao follows with 27,000 rooms and China's Shanghai and Beijing with just 11,000 and 12,000 respectively.

In addition to the significant investment being made within the country, rapidly increasing outbound capital flows from the Middle East are also expected.

"Traditionally, Middle Eastern investors were attracted to iconic trophy asset hotels, but now the more sophisticated Middle Eastern investor is competing for assets across the hotel spectrum and sometimes teaming up with international private equity firms to acquire large portfolios of assets," he said.

Many Asian hotels under development are being financed by Gulf investors and Jones Lang Lasalle, is gearing up to serve this clientele. The company foresees further investment by Gulf investors into Europe and Asia, notably in China and many of the Muslim countries in Southeast Asia.

Stepping out

Middle Eastern investors, primarily from the UAE, invested just under $1 billion in European hotels in 2005, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

In 2006, the same level of investment in the first half of the year alone has been observed, with Middle East investors eager to explore opportunities in Asia and Europe, according to Arthur de Haast, CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle.


Palm Water awarded AED 1 billion design, build, own & operate (DBOO) contract by Nakheel at International City, Dubai

Palm Water LLC today announced that it had been awarded an AED 1 billion DBOO contract by Nakheel to design, build, own and operate (DBOO) a sewage treatment plant as well as sewage and irrigation networks that service the latter's prestigious development at International City, Dubai.

As part of the award, Palm Water LLC will be granted a 30-year concession to provide both sewage and irrigation services on behalf of Nakheel.

The sewage treatment plant - set to be among the largest Membrane BioReactor (MBR) -based plants in the Middle East, is expected to have a capacity to treat about 110,000 m3 of sewage each day - nearly the same amount of high quality irrigation water. Planned as a part of the development, the plant will use state-of-the-art technology and easily blend with the surrounding environment.

Elaborating on the contract, Robert M. (Bob) Bryniak, CEO, Palm Water, said, 'We are very pleased to have been awarded this important contract. It represents one of the first contracts awarded in the sewerage business to a privately owned company in Dubai on a DBOO basis.'

Bryniak said that Palm Water will employ Membrane BioReactor or MBR technology that will result in an extremely high grade of treated sewage effluent that can be safely used for irrigation purposes throughout the development at International City.

The sewage treatment plant will be constructed in phases, with the first phase going on stream in late 2007. One of the unique elements of the project is that Palm Water will be supplying Palm District Cooling with make-up water for its cooling plants. This, in turn, will provide low-cost district cooling to residents in Phase II and Phase III phases at International City.

The scope of the contract includes designing, supplying, constructing, owning, operating and maintaining the sewage treatment plant. It also covers the owning, operating and maintaining of the pumping station and tanks.

The existing sewerage, irrigation networks and collection systems will be transferred to Palm Water and all future enhancements will be implemented and maintained by the company over the next 30 years. Networks and collection systems being developed by others at Phases 2 & 3 at International City will be purchased by Palm Water when completed and maintained by the Company during the concession period.

International companies are expected to be involved in the design, construction and operation of the sewage treatment plant. MWH is providing Palm Water with technical support for the project while Allen & Overy is the legal counsel and HSBC - the lead financial arranger. Award by Palm Water of the Engineering Procurement Construction ('EPC') contract to construct the main sewage treatment plant is imminent.

Palm Water LLC is owned by Istithmar, which has a majority stake in the company. It undertakes projects that relate to the build, own and operate (BOO) or build, own and transfer (BOT) of a specific development. Palm Water also participates in projects related to seawater desalination plants, commercial, municipal and industrial water treatment plants.

It also implements projects such as wastewater treatment and recycling plants, potable water, treated wastewater distribution networks, wastewater collection networks. Palm Water is also engaged in related businesses that include selling and distributing associated products related to the water business. Palm Water is presently implementing two desalination plants located on the Palm Jumeirah.




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