9 Oct 09 | Maktoob Business (online)

Burj Dubai to open Dec. 2, chairman says

Emaar Properties, the Middle East's largest developer, plans to open the world's tallest tower Burj Dubai Dec. 2, the company's chairman told CNN in an interview Friday.

"We are aiming for Dec. 2, the UAE National Day," said Mohamed Alabbar.

The Burj Dubai, which stands at the heart of $20 billion flagship Downtown development close to Dubai's main business district, is currently more than 800 meters tall, but Emaar hasn't revealed the tower's final height.

Dubai has been hit by a property slump as a result of the economic downturn. Home values have fallen by about half from their peak in the third quarter of last year. As the downturn shows no signs of letting up, many developers are being forced to scale back real-estate projects, shed staff and make other cash-saving moves.

Alabbar, who also heads Dubai's Advisory Council, which was created to deal with the economic downturn, said he believes Dubai's property market has hit the bottom and expects up to 5% economic growth next year.

"I think we'll see between 4%-5% growth in 2010," he said.

Alabbar said he expects Dubai to issue the second tranche of its $20 billion bond within the next two months.

"I don't know the exact date, but October or November is a reasonable date. I expect the majority will be subscribed by government and some by the private sector," he said.

The United Arab Emirates central bank based in Abu Dhabi provided the first $10 billion for the fund earlier this year by subscribing to bonds issued by Dubai in a bailout for the emirate.