Reuters doesn’t mention the overbuilding, either, though it takes a better, more skeptical angle. Here’s its lede:
Dubai opened the world’s tallest structure in a glitzy ceremony meant to put a brave face on crushing debt woes, leading some to wonder whether the tower is the emirate’s crowning glory or its last hurrah.
Bloomberg starts off weak, but gets into some of the real economic issue: The commercial property market and the likely fallout of the building:
The Burj’s occupancy rate may reach 75 percent this year, with office leasing proving the biggest challenge for investors, said Roy Cherry, an analyst at investment bank Shuaa Capital PSC…
“It may still run at a premium to the rest of the market but I’d be surprised if there were no defaults and if vacancy rates didn’t creep up,” since a large proportion of the developer’s sales were financed through mortgages, said Saud Masud, a Dubai-based analyst at UBS AG. “This is a symbol of the economic momentum that Dubai had and an ironic reminder of its property bubble.”
It reports that apartment prices in the building had already fallen 60 percent before it opened.
Even if it succeeds in filling up half its space in the first year—no sure thing— it won’t be any turning point for Dubai or anything like that. It will just be draining people away from all the other empty buildings in Dubai, which won’t be filled for years and years.
I can’t put it any better than the LAT’s Hawthorne does on what the real meaning of the Burj is—and none of the news stories I write about here comes within 2,717 feet of him— so I’ll leave you with this:
But the hyper-confident Dubai that Smith’s tower was designed to mark and call global attention to is already dead, as is the broader notion, which the emirate came to symbolize over the last decade, that growth can operate as its own economic engine, feeding endlessly and ravenously on itself.
If the Burj Dubai is too shiny, confidently designed and expertly engineered to be a ruin itself, it is surely the marker — the tombstone — for some ruined ideas.