Creating ‘The World’ in five yearsBottom Highlights Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
The World Islands are a man-made creation of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map. They are located about two and a half miles off the coast of Dubai, which is an emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A city within the emirate is also named Dubai. The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second largest land territory by area of all the emirates after Abu Dhabi. So how can islands and land mass simply be created?
In the case of The World Islands, sand was dredged from Dubai’s shallow coastal waters. The island’s were originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, and were developed by Nakheel Properties.
The dredging process is an excavation activity or operation usually carried out at least partly underwater in shallow seas or fresh water areas with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediments and disposing of them at a different location. A dredge is a device for scraping or sucking the seabed. A dredger is a ship or boat equipped with a dredge. The terms are sometimes interchanged. This technique is often used to keep waterways navigable. It is also used as a way to replenish sand on some public beaches, where too much sand has been lost because of coastal erosion. Dredging is also used as a technique for fishing for certain species of edible clams and crabs.
The process of dredging creates excess material/soil, which is carried away from the dredged area. Dredging can produce a material mass for reclaiming land, which was the case with The World Islands.
The World Islands project was unveiled in May 2003 and dredging began four months later in September. By January 2008, 60 percent of the islands were sold, 20 of which were bought in the first four months of 2007. In January 2008, the final stone on the breakwater was laid, completing the development.
Islands in the development range from 150,000 to 450,000 square feet in area. Distances between islands average about 330 feet. The islands are constructed from 321 million cubic meters of sand and 31 million tons of rock. The entire development covers an area of about 3.7 by 5.6 miles which is surrounded by an oval shaped breakwater island. Roughly 144 miles of shoreline was created. The World Islands’ overall development costs were estimated at $14 billion.
Utilities are routed underwater, with water plants at each of the hubs pumping fresh water to the islands. Power is supplied by the Dubai Grid and distributed through underwater cables. Waste water and refuse systems are individually set up for each island.
Although property prices in the emirate have fallen 58 percent from their real estate market peak, there are now efforts to develop the Islands with the Nakheel Group, which is developing a resort named Coral Island on 20 islands that make up the North American part of The World Islands. The low-rise development will include a marina and hotel village. The second largest confirmed development is the purchase of 14 islands that make up Australia and New Zealand by Investment Dar of Kuwait. The islands are being developed as a resort named Oqyana. Irish business consortium Larionovo had plans to develop the Ireland island into an Irish-themed resort. The plans include a large internal marina, apartments and villas, a gym, hotel and an Irish-themed pub.
In April 2008, Salya Corporation announced that it had acquired the islands of Finland and Brunei in The World Islands and planned to develop them into fashion-themed resorts. Salya spent about $218 million to purchase the islands and plans to spend a further $654 million on development. Brunei island will be turned into a resort and Finland island will be turned into a residential community. The islands of Great Britain and Moscow were acquired by Premier Real Estate Bureau in the summer of 2008. Safi Qurashi, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur at the head of Premier and his business partner Mustafa Nagri, paid an estimated $64 million for the 11-acre piece of land.
There are other parts of The World Islands where dredging has been done to create more land mass, such as in Singapore. As the population increases internationally, we will probably see more reclaimed land through the dredging process. Until we meet again, enjoy!
Trent St. Louis is a licensed Real Estate Agent
and a member of the National, California and
San Diego Association of Realtors. You can reach Trent at SpecialAgentTrent@gmail.com or at his office in Hillcrest, The Metropolitan Group. DRE#01273643.
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