I am writing this to you from the Fairmont The Palm in Dubai. Having had the opportunity to visit Dubai several times during the period from 2004 to 2007 when many of the iconic projects were being launched and sold off plan, it is interesting to see how the master plan for Dubai has evolved.
The sceptics were vocal at the time and the global financial crisis did have an impact on the market, but ten years plus later, Dubai is more impressive that ever and more mature as a major global metro. Although it represents the antithesis of natural beauty that many South Africans are accustomed to, the iconic built environment is nothing short of amazing.
The most iconic of all is the tallest building in the world at 828m, known as the Burj Khalifa. The highest occupied floor is at 570m. It was officially opened on 4th January 2010 and had taken 6 years to complete. Google Street view have set world firsts on this building with both interior and exterior spaces photographed. I had the opportunity yesterday to go up this building and experience it first hand.
An engineering and architectural masterpiece unlike any other. The Y-shaped plan was carefully crafted to create different widths of the building at each tier and thereby "confuse the wind" as they say, diminishing the wind pressure and force on the tower, which would otherwise have caused it to sway from side to side.
The amount of concrete used in the construction of Burj Khalifa is mind-boggling - if you were to take the concrete and lay a sidewalk it would be 2,065 km long. The total weight of the aluminum used in the building is equivalent to five A380 aircraft. When going up the building in the elevator (it has 57 elevators in total and 8 escalators) you literally shoot up at 10m/s - that's about three floors per second.
The Burj Khalifa has been called a "vertical city", with a mixed use of retail, offices and residential apartments it holds in the region of 10,000 people at any given point in time. The water system of the building alone supplies just under one million liters of water a day with water storage tanks installed in mechanical plant room floors every 30 floors.
The Burj Khalifa is more than just one isolated building, but better described as a precinct of buildings including the first Armani Hotel (and 144 Armani Residences (apartments) on levels 9-16) with all aspects of the hotel's room designs bearing the signature of designer Giorgio Armani, and the extraordinary Dubai Mall with over 1,200 retail outlets and over 80 of the world's top luxury brand concept stores.
Although pricing is at international levels, the summer sales allow shoppers to get great value. Ask my wife.
With The Burj Khalifa offering the prime residential address in downtown Dubai, what would you expect to pay for an apartment I found a 5 bedroom penthouse at AED102,000,000 (R378,000,000), which believe it or not is being sold "shell and core" without any internal finishes. The images show a completely stripped down concrete shell and ceiling. I would anticipate the fit-out of this property could exceed R25,000,000 taking the actual price to over R400m.
The cheapest option I could find in the Burj Khalifa is a 77 sqm one bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment priced at AED 3,450,000 (R12,765,000) - almost the exact same price as one of our 5 Bedroom Zimbali Villas overlooking the golf course and ocean.