Open debate on future of real estate investment

Sweeping agenda at transparent 36-session Cityscape Abu Dhabi conference with 120 regional and international speakers

“Given the dramatic changes that have impacted the global markets over the past year, we are planning a frank debate without restriction, presenting real estate professionals with a transparent platform to explore the real issues and challenges confronting the real estate investment industry,” – Chris Speller, Cityscape Group Director.

One of the most comprehensive and open debates yet on the future of real estate investment regionally and internationally involving more than 120 speakers from over 25 countries takes place during Cityscape Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 18-21 April 2010.

“Given the dramatic changes that have impacted the global markets over the past year or more, we are planning a frank debate without restriction, presenting real estate professionals with a transparent platform to explore the real issues and challenges confronting the real estate investment industry,” said Chris Speller, Cityscape Group Director.

“The conference will have 36 sessions across three concurrent streams over three days covering a myriad of topics including the impact of the financial crisis on the real estate market; how the GCC countries have confronted the crisis; the viability of real estate investment trusts in the Middle East; and the transparency and consistency of real estate data throughout the region,” he added.

Other sessions on the extensive agenda include; comparing the performance of emerging markets with mature markets; opportunities in distressed real estate; the institutional investment market; the mortgage finance market in the United Arab Emirates; affordable housing; debt restructuring strategies; sustainable design and development; and mortgage-backed securities.

The conference will also look beyond the UAE and examine the impact of the US stimulus package; the emerging potential of the Levant countries; Saudi Arabia, the economic powerhouse of the Middle East; opportunities in South and Latin America, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia; India versus China; investment and development opportunities in Africa; and the resilience of Asia in the global recession.

“The Cityscape conference will, however, retain a strong emphasis on developments in the UAE capital,” said Speller. “Abu Dhabi has emerged not only as an economic hub for energy projects and infrastructure but has also developed a rich and unique cultural scene, blending Eastern and Western customs. The UAE capital is also giving priority to infrastructure in government spending for the next few years as part of a long-term development plan to achieve sustainable growth in the oil-reliant economy. Abu Dhabi, after all, is the largest economy in the UAE accounting for well over half of the country’s gross domestic product,” he said.

Among the keynote speakers at the conference will be Rashed Mubarak Alhajeri, Chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs, and Mohamed Rashed Al Hameli, Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who will be speaking on positioning Abu Dhabi as a leading global city.

John Bullough, CEO of property company Aldar, and John A. Thomas, Executive Director of Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality, will examine new opportunities for investment and development in Abu Dhabi. Dr Nimer Basbous, Legal Adviser, HSBC Bank Middle East, will lead a forensic examination of Abu Dhabi’s regulatory framework.

The development of the Middle East and North Africa real estate sector will be on display at the Cityscape Awards for Real Estate, marked with a gala dinner attended by industry leaders on Sunday 18 April 2010. Awards will be divided in to the main categories of architecture and development and entries are judged on their contribution to world architecture culture, invention and imagination, respect for people, the planet, context, environmental awareness and appropriateness in the region.

Headline sponsor of Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010 is Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality. Platinum sponsors are Al Qudra Real Estate, Al Maabar and Aldar Properties. Associate sponsor is the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs.

For more details about Cityscape Abu Dhabi and links to other Cityscape events, please visit www.cityscapeabudhabi.com

About Cityscape Abu Dhabi
Cityscape Abu Dhabi, the International Real Estate Investment and Development Event, provides a platform for regional and international real estate community to come together to network, create partnerships and discuss the future of real estate. It is part of a portfolio of Cityscape events in the Middle East, Asia and the Americas organised by IIR Middle East (www.iirme.com), the largest trade and consumer event business in the region and part of the Informa Group plc (www.informa.com)

Nathalie Visele, Shamal Marketing Communications Dubai – also photo

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