x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Building its own universe: projects continue to grow

Currently, three Palms, one World and an entire Universe are either under construction or planned.

The World's islands will not have a central road.
The World's islands will not have a central road.

DUBAI // Nakheel seems to announce a mind-boggling new project every week. Currently, three Palms, one World and an entire Universe are either under construction or planned. The Palm Jumeirah was the first mega-project. Construction began in 2001 and the Palm is currently home to 2,000 families. The "trunk" is still being developed and, when finished, will be home to apartment blocks, luxury hotels and the much-hyped Trump Tower and The Atlantis hotel. The Palm will be served by a monorail, which will connect to Dubai's larger transit system.

Some families who have moved in have complained that the palatial villas are too close to each other. Concerns have also been raised over the Palm's lack of infrastructure. Some residents have expressed doubts as to whether the one main road leading through the trunk of the Palm will be enough for the 65,000 people expected to live and travel to and from there. In 2002, construction began on the Palm Jebel Ali, which is twice the size of Palm Jumeirah and expected to accommodate 1.7 million people by 2020. The top of the Palm is to be shaped like a whale and will hold six theme parks, including SeaWorld.

The water homes built on stilts around the fronds of the palm will spell out a poem written by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Palm Deira was announced in 2004 and, at five times the size of Palm Jebel Ali, will be the largest man-made island in the world. Most of the reclamation work is complete, although a completion date has not yet been released. The World islands will consist of about 300 small islands about four kilometres off the coast of Dubai.

Most of the reclamation work is complete and Nakheel says the handover of the islands is imminent. A mix of private residences, resorts and hotels, The World is expected to be home to celebrities and royalty. Prices for the islands have been estimated at between US$10 million (Dh36.7m) and US$15m. Earlier this year, Nakheel also announced plans to develop The Universe, a cluster of island "swirls" that will stretch between the Palms and around The World.

The Universe will create 3,000 hectares of land and is expected to take up to two decades to build. jgerson@thenational.ae