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Sat 28 Jun 2008 04:00 AM

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Security a top priority for Trump Middle East foray

Security will be a top priority for the Trump International Hotel & Tower Dubai to avert potential terrorist attacks.

Security will be a top priority for the Trump International Hotel & Tower Dubai to avert potential terrorist attacks.

The Trump Organisation's first foray into the booming Middle East property market is seen as a possible target, as the Trump brand is synonymous with Western capitalism.

The 62-storey project, launched here last week, will straddle the central trunk of the Palm Jumeirah, acting as a gateway to the reclaimed land.

But security was always at the back of the designers' minds as the project got underway.

"We have done a tremendous amount of work in the security aspect of the building," said Lee Morris, WS Atkins principal architect. "In Dubai recently there has been talk of terrorist attacks so we looked at access points going into the building in terms of scanning pedestrians and luggage."

"We looked at bombproof glass, we looked at putting up bollards so that cars could not drive into the front of the building. It's a consideration, but not something that totally defined the design."

The building, designed by WS Atkins, will comprise 387 residential apartments and 314 hotel rooms. It is set for completion in mid-2011. It will take the form of two towers joined at the 40th floor.

Fifty of the hotel's residential apartments have been sold by invitation, for up to US $33,000 per m
2

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Nakheel CEO Chris O'Donnell told
Construction Week

in New York City that: "The idea of a branded project such as Trump was put forward, so Sultan Bin Sulayem (Nakheel chairman)] and Donald Trump met. There was certainly synergy between the two groups and it was from there that we formed the relationship we have."

"The building will be a centrepiece and I think it's a stunning piece of architecture. Our purchasers are certainly impressed."

The original design for the building, which featured a tulip design, was rejected by Nakheel and Trump.

O' Donnell said: "It was probably premature to have spoken about the tulip design because it really didn't deliver the outcome we wanted.

"That's why we worked with Atkins to come up with a new design. We were not so proud to turn around and say, 'well the first design didn't work for us.' The tulip design really lacked the functionality."

Architect Morris said: "I was asked to do a technical view of the original design covering efficiency, buildability and various logistical aspects of the project.

"We thought we could do something better so we redesigned the building, and the rest is history."

The Palm project director Johann Schumacher said he expects the Palm to be "substantially finished in the next three years," but added that it is more like a city, so will "probably never be 100% finished."

The Trump Organisation is involved in more than 70 real estate projects around the world, and is one of the West's most recognisable brand names, due to outspoken chairman and president Donald Trump.

The arrival of the group in the Middle East marks the latest and highest-profile entry of a Western brand into the booming GCC property market to date.

Is this indicative of a gradual shift in economic might from West to East? Nakheel CEO Chris O'Donnell sees it differently:

"The Middle East has been plagued with uncertainty and instability over a number of years. Now that the situation is starting to ease, these economies are finally pursuing prosperity."

"In some ways they have been a little bit slow off the mark in turning that prosperity into creating great cities. This is catch up."

"Given that Dubai now has the legal structure in place for real estate freehold sales we are seeing the rightful growth of this part of the world. Dubai will become one of the great cities of the region and will be a hub for the Middle East. I don't see it as a shift of power. I see it as an equalisation in some ways."

RELATED LINK:

Ambitious project for Trump and Nakheel

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