You’d think they wouldn’t have time, but the players behind the New York City building boom are also active overseas. Donald Trump, for example, is active from Tel Aviv (where he is building the tallest building in Israel) to Toronto (where he was forced to lop several stories off his latest project). Other top global cities are feeling the influence of the Big Apple, from a New York-trained banker who became a billionaire in Beijing to a former Tishman Speyer executive who is overseeing the largest urban development project in Europe — a $7.9 billion complex rising in slightly unlikely Hamburg.
So for The Real Deal’s first International Report, we’ve bought you a plane ticket and pulled together snapshots of nine vital cities. Sometimes the vectors point toward New York (witness our portrait of the Mexico City architectural incubator that birthed One York’s Enrique Norten), and sometimes they point away (Toronto, again, getting a new project from chic hotelier Jason Pomeranc of 60 Thompson fame). More than a review of opportunities and hazards, these stories spotlight startling trends and new development ideas.
China’s new rich, for example, have often earned their money by adopting American residential real estate strategies. Sometimes Americans are welcome overseas … sort of: In Moscow, a hotel boom embraces American brands but not ownership. Safety is certainly a cornerstone of healthy markets: In Johannesburg, New York City’s former law-and-order mayor (and current presidential candidate) Rudolph Giuliani gave advice on how to tackle crime and make that city more liveable.
Some global real estate markets have been strong on the commercial side — even stronger than Gotham. The market in London, for example, has been so hot it has some commentators saying that city is overtaking New York City as the center of world finance. We examine the surge of commercial construction there — average West End rents are running at three times those of New York City — and its implications for growth, given new vulnerabilities in worldwide credit markets.
Perhaps no emerging city is getting more press than Dubai — where of course the Donald is also active, in a hotel-condo project called Palm Trump International Hotel on Palm Jumeirah Island, a production between Trump and Dubai development firm Nakheel LLC. The building boom there is unprecedented, yet in this issue, we ask a different, perhaps more thoughtful question: Is it sustainable? You decide.
We hope you return from this tour full of ideas and appreciation of how cultural cross-currents are making our world a little smaller, and yet a little taller, than ever. Enjoy!