How You Feeling About SoCal Now, Dubai?

The news surrounding Irvine-based John Laing, the developer of Hollywood's Madrone project and dozens of other Southern California projects just keeps getting worse. Last week, Emaar Properties, Laing's parent company, and the Middle East's largest home builder, "reported a fourth-quarter loss of 1.77 billion United Arab Emirates dirhams ($482 million) because of a U.S. write-down, and the company put new projects in Dubai on hold amid a property slump in the emirate," reports the Wall Street Journal. "...Emaar wrote down 1.77 billion dirhams in goodwill in its John Laing Homes unit amid the financial crisis, and a further 919 million dirhams in properties owned by the company during the quarter.” Over at the OC Register, Jon Lanser crunches the numbers, noting that for Emaar, which purchased John Laing homes for $1.05 billion in 2006, the $687 drag on its company essentially means that "two-thirds of its original U.S. investment has vaporized." Despite laying off staff, stopping operations on projects, and dropping PR firms Porter Novelli and Roddan Paolucci Roddan, the company is still saying very little publicly. Calls to the Madrone project are directed to a messaging service.

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