Saturday, 24 May 2008
The blog in the press this week
This week's issue of 'Time Out' features a front page article on the demise of Satwa. My blog is quoted several times in the article including in a highlighted boxed section which is very exciting. Judging from the lack of new information in the article, it seems the reporters hit the same walls of silence within the Lands Department that Satwa residents have been dealing with since February. Nowhere in the article is the development company, Meraas Investment Company, named. Meraas operates under the direct supervision of Dubai ruler Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will be headed by Abdullah Al-Habai of the Engineer's Office. Mr Al-Habai is also a board member of Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC). Already contracts for parts of the new development have been awarded including for the building of the sales office. If the authorities as quoted in the article are to be believed (and that'd be a first) the final development plan has yet to be finalised. Out in the real world, the construction industry has the plans, the contracts and the names.
The Meraas company website hasn't changed in months being a single page with the ironic sentence "Our site is designed with you in mind", which is amusingly indicative of their attitute to the public - tell them nothing. Binod H. Shankar the former CFO of Dubai Waterfront Corporation is the CFO of Meraas. Vivek Rao, the Chief Executive Officer, seems to an active speaker on the Real Estate conference circuit.
I fear that to continue down the path of obliteration in the name of profit will doom Dubai to becoming just "somewhere that could be anywhere" full of million dollar ghettos. That would be a tragedy.