Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem
On Sunday the Dubai-based firm Limitless LLC announced the biggest real estate development in Russian history. The first phase of the Great Domodedovo project outside Moscow is expected to cost $11 billion, and Limitless will partner with Russian developer Coalco to build the new suburb. According to the International Herald Tribune, the project will require 44,000 acres (18,000 hectares) and will eventually include 150,000 residential and commercial units. To put that number in perspective for our U.S. readers, the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Washington (pop. 112,344) has 48,396 housing units.
Limitless LLC is a subsidiary of the Dubai World holding company, which also owns Dubai Ports World. Russia Blog's American readers may recall that last year Congress rejected a DPW bid to operate several U.S. ports, citing national security fears. At that time, DPW spokesmen pointed out that their company had securely operated several ports that serviced U.S. Navy ships for years. However, Dubai World has shrugged off this setback, and Dubai continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Large construction firms based in the Emirates, like their Chinese counterparts, have a lot of experience building whole new cities from scratch. Now the "Singapore of the Middle East" is investing in another rapidly emerging market in Russia.
The skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Photo by: Tom Green
Russia Blog has previously reported on the shortage of quality housing in Russian cities and the real estate boom in Moscow. The previous record for foreign investment in a Russian real estate venture was held by the Chinese, who are building the "Baltic Diamond" residential/commercial complex and a major tunnel under the Neva River in St. Petersburg.
With Chinese and now Arab firms both building multibillion dollar developments in Russia, the question naturally arises: where are American developers?