THE 4 FOOD GROUPS – December 2006

THE 4 FOOD GROUPS 2006-12-01 Staff Writer <strong>RESIDENTIAL<br /> No Paris jokes</strong><br /> Last month Hilton Hotels announced its first residential project in Dubai, the Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence, in yet another sign that the building boom in the Middle Eastern emirate

No Paris jokes

Last month Hilton Hotels announced its first residential project in Dubai, the Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence, in yet another sign that the building boom in the Middle Eastern emirate continues unabated.

“Dubai is undoubtedly the region’s most thriving leisure destination and a global hot spot,” Ian Carter, chief executive of international operations and executive vice president for Hilton Hotels, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to introduce our first residential venture in this cosmopolitan city.”

The 44-story development, which is slated to open next September, will be linked via a bridge to the company’s existing lodging property, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort. The new residence will have 371 apartments, ranging from one- to four-bedroom units, as well as five lofts and two penthouses. The property will include the usual luxury amenities: restaurants, a bar, parking, health club and swimming pool. The project will be owned by AA Almoosa Enterprises.

It may be Hilton’s first residential project in the region, but the company has been building hotels in the area for more than 30 years. In addition to the adjacent resort property, Hilton owns the Hilton Dubai Creek and the Hilton Jumeirah Beach Club, which is opening in 2008.

The hotelier was the first international lodging company to open a hotel in the United Arab Emirates—the Hilton Al Ain opened its doors in 1972. It currently has 14 branded hotels on the Arabian Peninsula.

A “grand” opening

India’s Reliance Retail, part of conglomerate Reliance Industries, knows how to make a splash. In launching its brand of Reliance Fresh markets last month, the retail chain opened its first 11 outlets in Hyderabad on a single day. The shops, which sell fruit, vegetables and dairy products, are part of the Indian company’s plans to have a national chain of supermarkets and hypermarkets in a reported 784 cities by 2011—spending a reported Rs 25,000 crore ($5.6 billion; €4.4 billion) to do so. The 11-store rollout in Hyderabad is just the beginning: Reliance hopes to eventually have three times as many Fresh outlets in the city. Senior executives at the retailer told local press that the plan seemed to be working: in the first few days of operation, each store reportedly saw an average of 25,000 shoppers who spent upwards of Rs 100 on groceries.

The studio’s golden days

A Los Angeles studio could be converted into an office complex once its current owner, distressed investor Oaktree Capital Management, sells the lot, located on Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach. Some observers say the property, which is currently used by 20th Century Fox and Raleigh Studios, could be worth as much as $150 million (€117 million) on the market. When Roy E. Disney’s Shamrock Holdings developed the studio, which sports 14 stages and 287,000 square feet of space, in the late 1990s, it was reportedly the first new studio facility built in Los Angeles County for more than 50 years. Shamrock eventually sold the complex to Oaktree in 2004 for around $93 million. After opening in 1998, television programs like Ally McBeal, The Practice, CSI: Miami and Boston Legal were filmed at the studios. It’s currently home to the teen drama The OC, which reportedly uses the nearby South Shore beaches for its locations, rather than those in its namesake Orange County.

Investing in a coal mine

UK Coal, the largest coal producer in the UK, recently announced plans to sell off more than £800 million ($1.5 billion; €1.2 billion) in real estate assets located across the country. While investors in the mining concern had long suspected its land bank could be a rich vein, the company only recently had John Lloyd, former head of property at Royal Bank of Scotland, reassess the value of its real estate holdings—many of which are brownfields sites located in urban centers near motorways and trains stations, suitable for all manner of redevelopment. While much of the company’s 49,000 acres is not suitable for reuse or is in need of major clean-up, UK Coal hopes to develop 60 sites across the country, with a 100-acre site in Yorkshire already pegged for redevelopment as housing and offices. The firm reportedly inherited much of the land in the 1990s when the coal industry in the UK was privatized.