Upbeat Cityscape ”grows” from strength to strength
IIR Middle East the organisers of Cityscape, the region’s premier international property investment and development event has predicted a 50 per cent growth in net exhibition space for 2006. An additional 5,000 square metres of exhibition space has been booked for the fifth annual Cityscape, due to take place at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre (DIEC) on 4-6 December 2006.
Franck Dailles, Project Director, Cityscape 2005, said, “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response from exhibitors during and immediately after the show. An amazing 80 per cent of exhibitors congratulated us on the success of the show and without exception have expressed a keen interest to exhibit again next year”.
Cityscape 2005 was inaugurated by General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence of the UAE. Other VIPs in attendance included Steven Forbes, former US Presidential candidate and President & CEO of Forbes Inc who was a guest of Saudi Arabia’s Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company; HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, Secretary General of the Supreme Commission for Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler Of Ras Al Khaimah, who came to support RAK Properties, the premier real estate development company of Ras Al Khaimah; HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of Nakheel; Mohammed bin Jawar Al Kwari, Member of the Board of Directors Of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Charles Jamieson, Victorian Government’s Special Envoy to the Middle East.
Cityscape’s growth curve shows no signs of leveling out which is hardly surprising given that over AED 100 billion worth of new projects were announced during this year’s show. Saudi Arabian companies accounted for more than 25% of that figure, with a major announcement by Al Hanoo Holding who are developing the AED 18 billion Nujoom Islands off the coast of Sharjah. The sale of this project was nothing if dramatic, 50 per cent of the development was sold in just a few hours of the opening ceremony.
Visitor Khalid Al-Jarallah, of Facil Arabia, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “There were more than 12 Saudi companies at Cityscape 2005. Saudi companies are reaping the benefits of exhibiting at Cityscape. What has attracted them is the combination of what Cityscape offers: investors, engineers, developers, brokers, real estate development companies – all come together under one roof. It was unbelievable – bigger than last year and exceptionally well organised. Taking the criteria of reliability, credibility, deliverables and level of service for exhibitors, and the excellent conference programme, Saudi participants are satisfied. Cityscape is raising the bar for property exhibitions.”
Among the key Dubai announcements were Al Sharq Development’s Dhs 7 billion Aqua Dunya theme park resort in Dubailand, its Dhs 551 million 70-storey tower on Sheikh Zayed Road and a hotel and residence on the crescent of The Palm, Jumeirah. Tanmiyat Investments Group chose Cityscape 2005 to launch residential units at its Dhs 7.3 billion investment, Legends, Dubailand.
Manal Shaheen, General Manager – VIP Sales at Nakheel, said: “Cityscape is a very important exhibition for the property industry. It’s an excellent show and a good opportunity for us to showcase our latest projects. Cityscape is also a good opportunity for investors and even end-buyers to see where the market is going We’ve been amazed to see such a large number of participants – over 20,000 people. You can’t meet all that number in an office during working hours!”
The significance of Cityscape 2005 on the Middle East property market was underlined by the announcement by Bahrain’s Al Areen Holding Company of three key deals with investors from the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. The Dhs 2.7 billion mixed-use Al Areen project should be fully operational by 2008.
Meanwhile, Gulf Finance House and Kuwait Finance and Investment Company announced the Royal Village component of the Dhs 3.6 billion Royal Metropolis project in Amman, Jordan. The event also saw the announcement by Dubai-based real estate company Asteco winning its first project in Jordan, the opulent mixed-use Saraya Aqaba development on the Red Sea.
New records were being set everyday at Cityscape 2005, with more than AED 100 billion worth of projects announced at the show, 300 exhibitors from 51 countries, and 17,000 visitors in the first two days. We are more than confident that even our aggressive targets for the 2006 show will not only be met but exceeded”, commented Dailles.
Running along side the exhibition was the highly successful Cityscape Conference, which attracted 80 acclaimed international speakers, over 50 presentations were made to an audience of over 600 delegates. The additional workshops devoted to specific industry areas such as, Islamic Finance, property valuation and marketing new property developments were also extremely well attended.
The Cityscape 2005 Architectural Review Awards attracted a record number of 300 entries. A glittering gala dinner was held at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel on the opening night of the show to announce the winners. This year’s awards were designed to recognise and celebrate excellence in architecture and design, under the theme of “Design for an Emerging World”. After months of deliberating an international panel of judges honoured 16 ecstatic winners in a variety of hotly contested categories.
Dailles summarised the mood at Cityscape 2005 perfectly, “We’ve simply run out of superlatives for this year’s show, bring on Cityscape 2006!” he said.
Emaar Properties, Dar Al Arkan, Nakheel, Rikaz, Galadari Investment Office and Dubai Properties were platinum sponsors for Cityscape 2005, organised by IIR Middle East.
Gold sponsors include The Commercial Real Estate Company, Saraya Jordan and Al Hanoo Holding Company.
Cityscape this year attracted over 25,000 participants from 81 countries. The Middle East’s premier international property investment and development event, Cityscape 2006 will take place from 4-6 December 2006 at Dubai International Exhibition Centre.
The three-day exhibition and conference attracts industry professionals such as investors, property developers, architects and designers. A series of industry conferences will be held throughout, and the winners of the increasingly coveted Cityscape Architectural Review Awards will be announced at an exclusive gala dinner event.