x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Fate of Trump tower rests with Nakheel

Donald Trump Jr said the fate of the planned Trump International Hotel & Tower on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah rested solely with Nakheel.

A rendering of the planned Trump Tower in Dubai, which was postponed last year.
A rendering of the planned Trump Tower in Dubai, which was postponed last year.

Donald Trump Jr, the son of the flamboyant New York property scion, said the fate of the planned Trump International Hotel & Tower on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah rested solely with Nakheel. "I'd love to go forward within two years," he said in an interview at Cityscape Dubai, the annual property conference that started today. "We're not an equity investor... The ball is in their court. They will make the determination going forward because it is their dollar being spent."

The planned tower, which would be comprised of two buildings that connect at the top, began initial construction last year but was put on hold as a property downturn took the market by storm last autumn. Nakheel, a Government-owned development company, is undergoing a major restructuring as it tries to deal with a dramatically changed market and a US$3.5bn (Dh12.8bn) Islamic bond coming due in December.

Mr Trump said the Dubai property market was oversupplied and lacking a clear road to recovery, but was beginning to re-emerge with a "sense of reality". "There was an element of one upmanship before," he said. "I think we are starting to see people come back with a sense of reality of what you should and shouldn't do." A crucial concern for the market over the next year will be the regulations governing visas, Mr Trump said.

The system of cancelling visas for people who were laid off from their jobs was "ostracising the same people who took the leap to come here". "You should be welcoming these people," he said. "If you throw them out, they are not likely to come back in six months when you need them. There is a wasteful mentality to that system." bhope@thenational.ae