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What's the difference between real estate development in the USA and the UAE? Besides a consonant, quite a bit, says John Buck International's Drew Nieman. He moved to Abu Dhabi in 2008 when the John Buck Co. teamed up with Mubadala (no relation to the vuvuzela), a government-owned entity there.
JBI's Drew Nieman
He's since developed more than 2M SF of office space in the Sowwah Square project on Sowwah Island. Speaking to COLBA  on Tuesday at 155 N. Wacker, Drew said one of the first things he noticed in UAE was the lack of building addresses. It makes gathering info on the millions of SF of office space built in Abu Dhabi  and  Dubai over the last several years difficult. The global recession hit the real estate development market especially hard. JBI's commitments to lease space at Sowwah Square have fallen from around 95% in early 2008 to about 25% today. Local firms have made more solid commitments. Sowwah Square is projected to be 50% pre-leased by year's end. The  Cleveland Clinic project, adjacent to the Square, is set to open for outpatient services in 2012 and inpatient in 2013.
 Grubb & Ellis' Sarah Spicklemire, JD Byrnes and Bob Peterson
Closer to home, Grubb & Ellis' Sara Spicklemire reports she just got a leasing assignment at 300 E. Randolph. Her colleagues J.D. Byrnes and Bob Peterson are working for the corporate services group at Grubb, looking for new clients and spaces.