Dubai: If Dubai’s property market needed an endorsement, it certainly has got one from Donald Trump and a ringing one at that.
“Dubai’s real estate has a tremendous upside, but it’s a lot different from what it was (during the pre-crisis years of 2008); the whole world went bad (during the subsequent crisis) and not just Dubai,” said Trump, who was in Dubai for the formal launch of a golf course and residential project that bears his name and being developed by Damac Properties. “Dubai had a different persona at that time.
“Now, the only way Dubai’s real estate is headed is up – [current] values are much lower than before the Lehman (Brothers) crash. In fact, Dubai has tremendous controls and it’s being conservative from a financial standpoint.
“I would not have said the same years ago – these are much smarter times.”
Trump, chairman and president of The Trump Organisation, was certainly at the top of the game during the time in Dubai. He landed on Monday morning in his 757 jet and accompanied by his daughter, Ivanka, who is closely associated with the styling and theme of the 104 villas making up the Trump Estates at the Akoya by Damac development. The residences are priced at Dh6.6 million and over.
He did have an earlier exposure to Dubai’s real estate, having launched a prestige tower project in association with Nakheel before the market crash. “Fortunately, it didn’t start and nobody got hurt,” said Trump.
On whether there could be projects with other developers that he might be associated with, Trump said: “I might… but I would like to focus on this one (with Damac). Any project has got to be big and I never want to have too many.”
In the Damac development, Trump’s association as of now extends to the name association and the extensive inputs that went into the conceptualisation of the golf course. (It would be one of the great courses of the world,” he said for full measure and with no hint of hyperbole.)
“But we could make an investment,” Trump said, without expounding on what this could mean.
But he did dwell at length on what the golf course could mean for Dubai in the future – “[The game of] golf is hot as a pistol,” Trump said. “The biggest beneficiary from this course will be Dubai. There’s a good chance to have the Ryder Cup coming here… in the not too distant future.”
The Trump International Golf Club will run through the centre of the project and is to be fully grassed by the first quarter of next year. Gil Hanse is the architect of the course, at which the front nine holes have already been shaped.