You'll remember that back in 2008, Related's Grand Ave project got an infusion of cash from Dubai's Istithmar, a subsidiary of Dubai World, the conglomerate currently making headlines because they're looking to restructure $26 billion of debt. Back in 2008, as part of their $100 million investment, Istithmar took a 40% stake in the now-delayed Frank Gehry-designed downtown project. Given the uncertainty with Dubai World, we caught up with Bill Witte, President, Related of California. "Everyone's been calling," he said, referring to inquiries about the Dubai-Grand Ave connection. Indeed, it's a slow news day. It's this or Tiger or more ginger attacks. While Witte confirmed that Dubai still has a 40 percent stake in the project, he said he couldn't go into details about the agreement with the investors ("It's inside baseball stuff"). But he did say this: "The current situation should not have any impact on the Grand Avenue project."
Additionally, today's Bloomberg reports that the Istithmar arm won't be affected (at least for now). Here's the paragraph that mentions Istithmar: "Dubai World said it began “constructive” talks with banks to restructure $26 billion of debt, including liabilities owed by units Nakheel World and Limitless World. Debt from subsidiaries such as Infinity World Holding, Istithmar World and Ports & Free Zone World will be excluded from the negotiations because those companies “are on a stable financial footing,” Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three main state-related holding companies, said in a statement."
Nevertheless, the press continues to ruminate on what will happen, and the Associated Press ran a story linking Dubai World with investment in US hotels, including the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas. On happier news, Witte confirmed the summer 2010 date as "rough" date for a ground-breaking for the Grand Ave Civic Park.
· Dubai World to Restructure $26 Billion of Debt (Update3) [Bloomberg]