Bucking the regional trend of a general economic slowdown over the past 24 months, Nakheel has ‘experienced a stable past couple of years with some consolidation as well as focussed...
Dubai’s transformation from a pearl-diving village to an international financial centre home to some of the world’s most recognisable buildings has been accompanied by a reconstruction of the physical landscape that ranks among the most astonishing feats of civil engineering in human history. Real estate and property developer Nakheel has played no small part in this remarkable process, with its pioneering work on Dubai’s Palm Islands, Dubai Waterfront and many other projects leading to a series of physical transformations that are visible from space. However, when the global financial crisis struck Dubai in 2008/2009, Nahkeel was among the hardest hit, with its exposure to prime real estate eventually dragging the company into a multi-billion dollar restructuring which led to the shedding of much of its legal team. Since that time, group general counsel John Davidson and a small team of lawyers that has been instrumental in overseeing Nakheel’s restructuring and eventual return to profitability. The real estate market in Dubai has come roaring back, but is itself much transformed, with a raft of new real estate laws that were introduced in the pre- and post-crisis years introducing tighter regulations and new provisions covering escrows and mortgages. This has called on developers to look for outstanding legal counsel, and Nakheel’s team is widely regarded as among the leading real estate in-house functions in the region. The team has been instrumental in helping to structure some of Nakheel’s recent joint venture agreements leading to announced deals for the developer to begin work on a new hotel at Dragon City and a resort and water park at Dubai’s Deira Islands.