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The Rise and Fall of World Dubai




Usually astronauts have to hover a bit further than the Earth’s orbit to get a glimpse of the world in one view, but Dubai has made this process rather simple with the conception the World Islands.

This $1.4 billion project is located approximately 2.5 miles off the coast of Dubai, and when completed, will be an archipelago of 300 man-made islands. These islands are set to be staged as the World map and just like the audacious Palm Islands in Dubai; the World is built primarily from the sand drenched from the sea.

 Developed by renowned developer Nakheel properties and conceptualized by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, the World is simply an awe inspiring phenomenon that takes Dubai to a whole new level of opulence.

The project has had its fair share of troubles even since its inception in 2003 starting with the most notorious headlines by the Daily Mail January 23rd/2011 that read “Dubai island development sinks back into sea," which is clearly incorrect as they are quite evident to anyone hovering above them.

Brief Overview of the World Dubai

As disclosed by Nakheel, the 300 islands will be rationally divided into four distinct categories – estate homes, private homes, community islands and dream resorts. Each island will measure between 250,000 to a staggering 900,000 square feet and set apart by 50-100 meters of water. World Dubai will be crafted from just over 30 million tons of rock and 321 million cubic meters of sand, bringing the overall bill to just under $15 billion.

World Dubai now occupies 250 kilometers of pristine Arabian coastline, which is 3 times that of the country’s natural assets. Travel time in this spectacular land mass is no more than 15 minutes between islands, and 5-10 minutes if you’re hitching from Dubai’s mainland. Commuting to and from the islands can be done by water taxis and air transport.

The World Islands Dubai will be serviced by several waterways, with a proposed cement batching plant set up on one of the islands for subdivided construction. Fresh water is streamed to each of the islands with the help of water plants, which are located at the major hubs. All the utilities such as water and electricity are routed through underwater channels, with the later sourced from underwater cables and powered by the Dubai Grid.

Purchase of the Islands

The North American slice of the World Islands is being developed by Nakheel itself to be transformed into 20 islands that will be part of the Coral Island Resort, which will include an exclusive lodge and marina. The next biggest purchase and development is of 14 islands that make up New Zealand and Australia by Investment Dar of Kuwait, who plan to transform them into yet another upscale resort named OQYANA. The Island of Ireland was purchased by Larionovo, who plan to develop it into an Irish themed resort, which will feature a gym, apartments, marina and villas.

Salya Corporation acquired the islands of Brunei and Finland in 2008, and plans to convert them into fashion themed resorts. The total cost for just these two islands is said to be approximately $220 million and another $700 million to develop them. The island of Finland will be transformed into FTV Palace – a fashion community and Brunei into a fashion TV resort.

The World Islands of Moscow and Great Britain were also bought in 2008 by Premier Real Estate Bureau. According to the Daily Mail, Great Britain was bought by Rod Stewart, Richard Branson or John O’Dolan, but it was Safi Qurashi – the one time millionaire, who along with Mustafa Nagri paid an estimated $70 million for it. Safi was later sentenced to 7 years in a Dubai prison for fraud and non-payment of cheques.

The World Islands Today

Five years after the project came to a halt, the World Islands seem to be appearing back on Dubai’s map. This man made archipelago was untouched for the most part since its inception, with only 2 islands out of 300 completely developed. This financial crisis left investors no choice, but to either put their dreams of building lavish retreats on hold or to bail out completely from the project.

Kleindienst Properties of Dubai announced that it was to begin construction soon on the heart of Europe, which is combination of 6 islands. Nakheel – the mind behind this entire project has also confirmed that companies are ready to put their plans to work. Kleindienst Properties will first begin construction on the island of Germany in the third or fourth quarter. Their entire stake in the World Islands spans 600,000 square meters, and includes St Petersburg, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands and Switzerland.

More signs of revival of the World Dubai Islands are the purchase of Lebanon for a whopping $40 million by Abu Dhabi based entrepreneur Ravi Raman in November 2012, and also a floating bridge in the making that will connect directly with the World Islands, and was suggested by Mohammed Ali Alabbar – Chairman of Emaar. Of the two completed islands, Lebanon is the only commercial slice, and is used for public parties and corporate events. The other developed World Island is privately owned.

With the construction back on track, property developers around the world predict that Dubai will make the list of top 5 property hot spots this year. With this upsurge of interest, queues outside offices of Dubai real estate offices are quite evident, and isn’t going to wind down any time soon. Amid speculation that the World Islands is set to fall to the sea, construction has begun again, and once completed, Dubai’s tourism sector will receive a boost of over 60% or 20 million tourists per year.

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