Dubai: Some 6,800 people will be working on The Atlantis resort site on the Palm Jumeirah next February when construction is set to peak.

At present 4,200 workers are striving to finish the $1.5-billion project's first phase by December 2008.

The resort is a 50-50 joint venture between Dubai investment house Istithmar and Kerzner International, a group headed by South African-born hotel and gambling magnate Sol Kerzner.

Jim Boocher, president of Atlantis Kerzner International Development, said only a few key contracts remain to be awarded for the project, including landscaping, furnishings and supplies.

Last week LCL Interiors and Mice Kraftwork LLC received a fit-out contract worth $3 million for seven suites. This follows a $25 million fit-out contract to the same companies in August.

A few companies have been shortlisted for furniture and other hotel supply contacts, which have a combined value of $80 million and will be announced next year.

"There is discussion going on about those. It is a pretty big process," Boocher said.

The construction cost of the two main components - the hotel and the water park - is $650 million. Design works and management fees total more than $200 million.

When the resort opens, Dubai will become the second home to an Atlantis resort. The other Atlantis resort is on the Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The 1,539-room resort in Dubai will have 320 more rooms than the Bahamas property.

"The Atlantis Palm is the largest property we have done in one shot," Boocher said. The Bahamas property was developed in phases.