Greg Lindsay's Blog

January 04, 2010  |  permalink

It’s Here.

The Burj Dubai Khalifa opens today, at a cost of either $800 million, $1.4 billion, or $4 billion, depending on which estimate you believe. (And Sheikh Mo wonders why people think he has a transparency problem.)

CNN, The National, and everyone else has coverage of the opening festivities, which are happening right now. But maybe the most impressive thing of all about the building is that it’s already in the black.

After selling 90 per cent of the units in the record-setting edifice, Emaar has pocketed a profit of at least 10 per cent on the US$1.5 billion (Dh5.51bn) cost of construction, said Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar’s chairman.

“Tall buildings don’t make money. They normally don’t,” Mr Alabbar said. “But to still sell it and make a return of more than 10 per cent? That’s really fabulous.”

Emaar is holding the remaining 10 percent in reserve for sales after the building opens. Equally remarkable is that prices isn’t the Burj haven’t been chopped in half along with the rest of the emirate, nor have prices in the surrounding “Old Town” plummeted, either. At least least some parts of Dubai aren’t a ghost town.

UPDATE: Although Sheikh Mo revealed at the last moment that it’s been renamed the “Burj Khalifa” in honor of the UAE president who rules the oil-rich emirate just up the road. That’s what an eleventh-hour, $10 billion loan earns you these days.

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion.  He is also a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

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