Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

June 10, 2008

Worldly pursuits in Dubai

Filed under: General,World Property — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:20 am

No doubt about it – The World in Dubai belongs to the rich and famous. This cluster of real estate is shaped like a map of Earth

YOU can buy Australia, New Zealand, Shanghai or even the Antarctica, and develop it into a private kingdom.

But first, you have to be invited to purchase this exclusive piece of real estate located 4km off the coast of Dubai – The World, a spectacular man-made archipelago shaped like a map of Earth.

Currently, only one island that is part of Greenland is fully developed with a three-storey glass-framed mansion, equipped with water, sewage and electrical systems’

Every year, 50 invitations are sent to businessmen, celebrities and members of royalty.

Nakheel, the United Arab Emirates-owned property developer behind the project, wants to turn it into the world’s first island community for the elite.

Covering 931ha, The World is twice the size of Sentosa, which has a total area of 463ha.

According to Mr Christopher O’Donnell, Nakheel’s chief executive officer, half of the 300 islands with names such as Ireland and Shanghai, have been sold.

Although there had been talk that celebrities such as British singer Rod Stewart, footballer David Beckham and Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have each bought an island here, Nakheel did not confirm any of these purchases.

Instead, the confirmed buyers include Chinese businessman Bin Hu who paid 103 million dirhams (S$38 million) for Shanghai island with plans to build a resort; Kuwait-based investment group The Investment Dar and Efad Holdings, which will transform Australasia into a resort with private residences; and Singapore-based firm Cinnovation Group, which will build a 730 million-dirham resort and spa on Nova Island.

Each island, with an average size of 300,000 sq ft, is priced between 73.5 and 183.6 million dirhams, says Nakheel spokesman Aaron Richardson.

He declined to reveal the exact cost of the multi-billion-dollar project. With The World’s barren islands, buyers will have to factor in other costs, such as building a house, ferry terminal and desalination plant.

Currently, only one island that is part of Greenland is fully developed with a three-storey glass-framed mansion, equipped with water, sewage and electrical systems. Mr Richardson would only reveal that the island belongs to an ‘influential local family’.

According to locals, it is believed to be owned by Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

He is also the man behind Nakheel’s other island developments, such as The Palm Jumeriah, the smallest of the three artificial palm-shaped islands along the coast of Dubai.

These island developments, along with the skyscrapers rising rapidly from the desert plains, have reshaped Dubai in recent years.

The remnants of the old city, though, is tucked away at the Bur Dubai, known for its winding alleys, beautiful palaces, mosques and old homes.

Just like the old days, the bustling local markets or souks see merchants selling spices, gold, silk, fishes and textile.

As developers compete to build the world’s tallest supertower in this fast-growing city, mega-resort Atlantis will open at the 560ha Palm Jumeirah in September.

Located on the Palm’s crescent, the facilities will include an Aquaventure water park and a 1,539-room resort.

On the Palm, there are also waterfront condos and double-storey villas, which are located on the 16 ‘fronds’.

According to Edward Sands Towers properties, which specialises in the Palm’s residences, a 1,184 sq ft one-bedroom seaview apartment is priced at 3 million dirhams, while a four-bedroom garden villa, spanning 5,000 sq ft, costs 15 million dirhams.

Homeowners come from China, South America, Britain, the United States and even Nepal.

So far, more than 4,000 properties have been snapped up, with 2,000 families now living on the island.

But with over 5,500 residential units, and more to come from third-party developers plus 30 new hotels, the island is in danger of becoming congested.

The construction of the Palm also sparked environmental concerns. The continuous breakwater was subsequently modified to create gaps on either side to allow tidal movement to oxygenate the water within and prevent it from stagnating.

Mr O’Donnell tells Life!: ‘During the planning stages, we have local, regional and international institutions to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the marine environment.

‘The creation of new landscapes and seascapes promotes the existence of marine life.’

And two F-100 Super Sabre fighter jets have been stripped and sunk near the island to create an artificial reef, intended to encourage marine life.

At the end of this year, Nakheel will be developing yet another man-made island called The Universe.

Spanning 3,000ha of reclaimed land below The World, it will form a cluster of islands in the shape of the solar system. It is expected to have residential units and hotels.

Asked what would follow next, Mr O’Donnell jests: ‘We have already conquered The World and next, The Universe. These are icons of Dubai.’

Source : Straits Times – 13 May 2008


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