DUBAI — As financial crisis roiled much of the world in October 2008, the head of Dubai’s biggest state-owned developer unveiled his latest megaproject: a $38 billion development that would include a tower nearly two-thirds of a mile tall.”I’m sure most of you are asking why we’re launching this, and you’d be mad not to question it,” said the executive, Chris O’Donnell, at a news conference. Though there would be economic ups and downs in the years needed to build the tower, he told listeners, demand would continue to outstrip supply.”The fundamentals in the market are too strong,” he said. “There won’t be a crash.”Since then, residential real-estate prices in Dubai have slumped by almost 50%. Developers have slashed jobs and scrapped projects. Groundbreaking on the tower was long ago put on hold. The yearlong retrenchment culminated in last week’s surprise announcement that Dubai would seek to restructure $26 billion of debts owed by Dubai World, the holding company for many of the government’s port, infrastructure and real-estate businesses.
By Chip Cummins, Stefania Bianchi and Mirna Sleiman, Dec. 4, 2009 WSJ

Link to article