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Cityscape Abu Dhabi to tackle debate on global challenge

- March 31, 2009, 12:28 pm

Cityscape Abu Dhabi to tackle debate on global challenge

The impact of the global slowdown on real estate investment and development markets regionally and internationally comes under the microscope at the Real Estate Finance and Investment conference and summit next month that form part of the Cityscape Abu Dhabi event.

Kosta Petrov, Conference Director of Cityscape Abu Dhabi for organisers IIR Middle East, said:

‘Conscious of the new market dynamics, the Cityscape Abu Dhabi conferences and summits taking place over four days, have been designed to stimulate discussion and transparency on the key issues facing the industry. It will be an open forum, where every delegate is a potential speaker.’

‘The global financial crisis has cast a shadow over the real estate industry worldwide with investors cautious,’ he added. ‘The Cityscape Abu Dhabi conferences provide a timely opportunity to assess where we stand right now as well as when and where investment opportunities lie in the changed and challenging climate.’

Taking place from 19-22 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2009 will be bringing together international and regional investors, real estate developers, government authorities and key stakeholders to assess current market challenges and develop strategies for the future.

Day one of the conference will focus on Abu Dhabi looking at the opportunities and threats to investment; legal issues and ways of funding developments in the UAE capital. Luxury or budget hotel investment will also be discussed along with proposals for affordable housing in Abu Dhabi.

‘One would expect Cityscape Abu Dhabi to reinforce consumer confidence in the property sector and hopefully provide an impetus to the revival of the real estate development sector,’ said Abid Junaid, the Executive Director of ETA Star Property Developers, one of the conference participants.

Running in parallel will be discussions on the USA real estate market; where global investors should look in troubled times; as well as special sessions on European real estate, investing in Russia and Asia.

Day two will have special streams on financing issues for real estate and on sustainable development. On the financial side, debate will centre on the challenges of liquidity in the market and whether Islamic finance can provide a solution. ‘Bankers will be there to discuss their role, post credit crunch, and investment managers will tell us if we can expect to see private equity taking a greater role,’ said Petrov.

‘The second day will also debate how far the credit crunch has affected the crucial issue for this region of sustainable development,’ Petrov added. ‘Is sustainability cost effective, is enough being done, what does the future hold? - these are just some of the questions we need answers to.’

Sougata Nandi, the Sustainability Director of Dubai’s Tecom, will be one of the members of the sustainability panel at Cityscape Abu Dhabi. ‘Sustainability makes business sense,’ he said. ‘It helps you become more profitable, helps you protect the environment and helps you serve society - all at the same time.’

Day three will be a Middle East Summit on the regional real estate market featuring chairmen, managing directors and CEOs of leading players such as Emaar, Sorouh, Abdali, Siraj Capital, Akwaan Properties, Rikaz, Tamdeen, Tashyeed, First Qatar Real Estate, Tadmur, The Wave Muscat, Al Madina, ETA Star, Darrat Jordan, Mawared International and Madaen Al Nour, among others. Special focuses will be on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Jordan.

‘I expect to see some realism and developers and investors working together to create and offer sound, well thought out designs or redesigns which closely follow today’s markets,’ said conference participant Nick Smith, the CEO of The Wave Muscat.

The fourth day, 22 April, will see the focus shift to retailing at a time of global financial crisis with overviews of the impact on regional markets along with lessons from elsewhere. Among leading participants will be Nakheel, MAF Properties, Alshaya and Colliers International.

Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2009 has received widespread backing from industry leaders. Headline sponsor is Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality; Platinum sponsors are Aldar, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Qudra Real Estate, The Land Real Estate Investment and Development Company, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, and Burooj Properties; Investment sponsor is Abu Dhabi Investment House; Gold sponsors are Tameer and Al Maabar; Silver sponsors are Aqaba Development Corporation and HSBC. The sponsor of the Real Estate Finance & Investment conference is Brand Experience. International Broadcasting Partner is CNN International.

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