Dubai: The World Islands project is still a blank canvas waiting for new brush strokes for developers.
With only two out of 300 islands witnessing development, the potential for a massive transformation of Dubai shorelines is limitless.
Master developer Nakheel declined to elaborate on the full extent on the next steps for development plans as it is the responsibility of business developers who own the islands.
However, Nakheel said that some private island proposals are on the table.
“As master developer, The World LLC — a subsidiary of Nakheel — has completed The World’s 300 islands and 27-km breakwater. As per our sales and purchase agreements, it is up to individual investors to complete their individual projects on the islands they have purchased,” a Nakheel spokesperson told Gulf News.
“Lebanon Island and one other private island have been developed [and] other developers have submitted plans for development at The World.”
The World is an artificial archipelago of small islands constructed in the shape of a world map, and was intended for a mixed-use of private and commercial island developments.
The World, which was built at a cost of $2 billion (Dh7.2 billion) is located four kilometres offshore from Dubai, at a point halfway between The Palm, Jumeirah and Port Rashid, and was built as an opportunity for investors to build leisure, residential and tourist developments.
The World project was announced in 2003 and was completed in late 2008, which has added over 232 kilometres of new beachfront to Dubai’s coastline.
Each island ranges from 23,226 to 83,613 square metres in size, with 50 to 100 metres of water between each island. It covers a total area of nine kilometres in length and six kilometres in width, surrounded by an oval shaped breakwater. The only means of transportation between the islands will be marine or air transport. The only attraction on the World so far is the Royal Island Beach Club that opened in July 2012 on Lebanon Island, other than a private residence on another island. The Royal Island Beach Club covers a total area of 38,941 square metres and is located in the Asian cluster of the development, which borders the Europe and Africa clusters.
“We cater to the general public as well as corporate and private bookings. We sometimes get about 25 people who organise events for the New Year, or couples who want the island for themselves on Valentine’s Day, but the [influx] of people ultimately depends on the season and the occasion during the year,” said Sasha Anantharaman, Marketing Manager, Royal Island Beach Club.
The lack of residents visiting Lebanon Island has also been hindered by the fact that visitors need to gain permission from Nakheel before entering the World, as there are no water taxis available for transportation.