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Dubai's Man-Made Palm Island Being Readied for Residents; Largest Land-Reclamation Project in the World
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- With 14,000 laborers toiling day and night, the first of Dubai's three palm-shaped islands is finally about to get its first residents.

The Palm Jumeirah, a 31-square-kilometer island group, is part of what's billed as the largest land-reclamation project in the world, involving the hauling of millions of tons of Gulf sand and quarried rock over five years.

On November 30, the palm will open to some 4,000 residents, said Issam Kazim, a spokesman for Dubai's state-owned developer Nakheel.

When fully complete by 2010, the Palm Jumeirah will be an offshore city, with some 60,000 residents and at least 50,000 workers in 32 hotels and dozens of shops and attractions, according to Nakheel.

Observers say they are surprised that the fledgling developer has been able to build such a complex project more or less as planned, albeit with several snags that delayed the opening from last year.

"The project has captured people's imagination," said Colin Foreman of the Middle East Economic Digest. "Nothing like it has been done anywhere else in the world."

Nakheel's four island projects, the world's largest land reclamation effort, are reshaping Dubai's stretch of the Gulf coast.

The US$14 billion project is a key part of this booming city's ambitions to rival Singapore and Hong Kong as a business hub and surpass Las Vegas as a leisure capital.

The frenetic pace of development has utterly transformed Dubai from a sleepy trading and pearl-diving village in the 1950s to a flashy metropolis of 1.5 million.

The island's construction has not all been smooth, and most buyers were supposed to get keys to their island homes a year ago.

Some of the new land sank and Nakheel needed an extra year to add more sand and pack it with vibrating land compactors, Kazim said.

Reports from those who have wandered through the island's giant homes describe them as cheaply finished and set uncomfortably close to one another. Nakheel rejected an Associated Press request to visit the island.

Overburdened roads in Dubai's Jumeirah Beach neighborhood are expected to clog further as people begin moving onto the island, accessible, for now, by a single bridge. Those moving onto the Palm Jumeirah this year will have to live with construction for another three years, and then an influx of tourists. Most of the owners are foreigners, with Britons making up the largest group, Kazim said.

Dubai's government expects the Palm Jumeirah to become a signature tourist attraction, bringing in as many as 20,000 daily visitors, Kazim said.

Meanwhile, laborers living in a cruise ship moored offshore are scrambling to finish enormous concrete houses that are crammed together on the palm island's 17 "fronds." The fronds are narrow peninsulas as long as 1.6 kilometers, attached to the island's main trunk. Nakheel will hand keys to owners of 1,350 homes by November 30, Kazim said.

Many observers believe Dubai's frenetic homebuilding will soon outstrip demand. "We've still got a shortage of properties in Dubai, but that's likely to become an excess in next six or 12 months," said Steve Brice, an economist with Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

20 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Millios of dollars spent to something that will just sink in the water over time?! Very smart!
   comment# 1   - Heather · Flagstaff, USA · Mar 10, 2007 @ 9:27pm

Try billions of dollars...
   comment# 2   - Mr Mean · Miami, FL · Mar 11, 2007 @ 8:19am

are you people not scared of this thing they call a "tsunami" The global warming thing is going to increase the sea level, 'so we hear' and now? I would like to visit the place one day but Hey! Im so thrilled by the place and I think you guys have done a great job. Its wonderful. I hope sooner or later it will be one of the 7 wonders of the World. Good job
   comment# 3   - Mosa · Lesotho · Aug 8, 2007 @ 11:19pm

The human spirit of ingenuity lives on; pushing the far past existing boundaries and NOT excepting those defeatist words of "you can't" They are not going into this without forethought, without anticipating every possible problem and finding solutions. They are fortunately able to purchase and hire the very best. They are planning for thier childrens childrens future. I'm sure they will have challenges. I'm sure they will overcome each and every hurdle. Bravo!!!!
   comment# 4   - DonOBob · Anchorage, Alaska · Jan 18, 2008 @ 10:18pm

Are you people that naive or what?? Before we went over there in 2003 that place was poor, now 5 years later they are building one of the 7 wonders of the world! I would say all of our tax dollars paid for that spot. They haven't made it public so who's going to live there and whats going to happen to us?
   comment# 5   - michelle · phoenix, usa · Feb 21, 2008 @ 3:34pm

The word we have ever heard is " your dream comes true ". However, this is an unbelievable dream which comes true. Appreciate the ideas which create global attractions by unprecedented wonders.
   comment# 6   - zeyar · dubai,UAE · Feb 25, 2008 @ 9:58pm

floating islands should be created in order to protect from upcoming sea level and waves due to global warming. Build higher surrounding crescent.
   comment# 7   - kyawzeyarwai · yangon, Myanmar(Burma) · Feb 25, 2008 @ 10:04pm

What about our own land and people???? Does anyone care what is happening in America?
   comment# 8   - Bobby · USA · Apr 7, 2008 @ 8:03pm

DUBAI the best place in the word to visit..
   comment# 9   - ali · u.s.a · Sep 18, 2008 @ 6:41am

Wow that island is so cool that it is not cool anymore. You get what im sayin?
   comment# 10   - 0nli Vi3tz · georgia · Sep 26, 2008 @ 5:51pm

Magnificant Execution of Incredible planning from even more Incredible Intellectuals. Now what are you building in the monumental caverns and hollows you no have after the rock and sand has been removed? Under Ground cities to protect the ELITE from the fly by residuals of NIBURA? Absolutely Brilliant!!!!
   comment# 11   - Sir Richard of BING · USA · Oct 30, 2008 @ 7:34am

Will u plz let me know how did they get the exact shape of palm tree, did they use any help from satellite??? or any gsm based techonology... plz let me know my gmail id ia:'mallikkande at gmail.com' plz plz do respond to this 1
   comment# 12   - Mallik · INDIA,HYDERABAD · Dec 11, 2008 @ 1:02am

That floating island thing sounds like the book "Exodous" (not the book out of the bible.) Its a young adults book about this place called New Mungo, and all of these floating cities, and how this girl saves people ans stuff. Very intresting. You do know that many people dont believe that global warming is a problem? In fact, from the mid 1940 to the mid 1970's, there was a global COOLING scare.
   comment# 13   - Emz · not telling · Dec 15, 2008 @ 1:19am

It is in the shape of a palm tree... because it needs space to have to water circulate and it is keeping its gulf water sea life alive.. Also it is a STRICT TOURIST ATTRACTION the oil is only going to last them so long so there other source of mula $$$ is to have tourism to its greatest
   comment# 14   - Kylee · waterloo United States · Feb 18, 2009 @ 10:00am

good job. i love it
   comment# 15   - gawain paul · florida · Nov 1, 2009 @ 5:14pm

I think it is an amazing idea. From an environmental scientist perspective, I think its great considering how our coastlines are being eroded and some of the ugly eyesore stabilisers built to 'help'. Its pretty too :D
   comment# 16   - Kylie · UK · Dec 9, 2009 @ 5:19pm

Literally millions of our fellow human beings starving in places all over the world. Children starving to death at an alarming rate, never will have the opportunity to live, let alone see any of the wonders of the world. I'm thinking all these billions could have been put to better use. How about saving people and the planet first and then build these marvels?
   comment# 17   - Bev · Canada · Aug 9, 2011 @ 10:54am

This thing is very cool and I would like to visit but as Bev said, the billions of dollars could have been put to better use (it is still amazing!!!!!!)
   comment# 18   - Alf · New York · Mar 1, 2012 @ 3:54pm

Water levels around our countries like India,Sri Lanka,Indonesia,etc and other small countries of the world,are raising.I don't know who in the hell gave them the permission to build such thing. Engineers on this are trying to solve the challenges ahead but forgot the Old school basics "weight of the object is equal to the weight of the water displaced".UNO or other developed countries should do some thing.To my knowledge they are not going to stop and they even trying to build a "world map of small islands".We all saw what happened in JAPAN last year."MAY GOD ALL of the WORLD"...
   comment# 19   - SIMONDEV · INDIA · Mar 15, 2012 @ 9:37pm

coooooooooooool
   comment# 20   - chazelle · leeds · Mar 21, 2013 @ 7:29am
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