The World Islands of Dubai is a man-made archipelago of 300 islands constructed in the shape of a world map and located 4 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Like the Palm Islands, also in Dubai, they are built mainly using sand dredged from the sea.
All the artificial island projects are being developed by Nakheel Properties and were originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
Each island in the archipelago ranges from about 14,000 m² (150,000 square feet) to 42,000 m². The distance between each island will be an average of 100 metres. The entire development covers an area of 9 km in length and 6 km in width, surrounded by an oval breakwater. Roughly 232 km of shoreline has been created. The overall development cost of The World was estimated as 14 billion USD. The individual islands mostly range in price between 15 and 50 million USD, with one island still for sale at a price of 250 million USD.
The project was unveiled on 6 May 2003 by Sheikh Mohammed. Dredging began four months later in September 2003. By January 2008, 60% of the islands had been 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 initial development. The next phase of the project is to hand over the individual islands to developers.
The World’s model island and first structure
Nakheel Group is itself further developing a resort named Coral Island over 20 islands that make up the North American part of The World. 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. The islands are being terraformed to be developed as a resort named OQYANA.
Irish business consortium Larionovo has 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 Irish-themed pub. In July 2007, it was announced that “Ireland” Island would feature a recreation of Northern Ireland’s famous Giants Causeway.
Cinnovation Group has acquired a 37,000 square metres (400,000 sq ft) island as part of a project valued at $200 million USD. Guest and residential villas and a hospitality complex are planned.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre will establish a 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft) pearling and marine entertainment center in association with Paspaley Pearling Corporation. It will be located on an island in the Antarctica region of The World.
In April 2008, Salya Corporation announced that it had acquired the islands of “Finland” and “Brunei” in The World. They plan to develop the two islands into fashion-themed resorts. To purchase the islands, Salya spent about Dh800 million (218 million USD) and will spend Dh2.4 billion (654 million USD) to develop the islands. Brunei Island will be turned into a Fashion TV resort and Finland Island will be turned into a fashion community called FTV palace.
In September 2008, a group of ten Irish investors headed by John O’Dolan bought the “Great Britain” island.
Undeveloped islands on 1 May 2007
Since the project’s commencement, there have been many unconfirmed reports of celebrities who have purchased, or intend to purchase, islands.
In March 2006, Richard Branson appeared at a media conference on the Great Britain island. However, this was to announce direct London to Dubai flights by Virgin Atlantic, and was not related to his investing in the project.
Fijian golfer Vijay Singh has been linked to the archipelago, but it is not confirmed that he has bought or intends to buy an island; he is involved with another Nakheel Properties development in Jumeirah on the Dubai mainland.
On 24 October 2006 seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher was presented with one of the islands by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the occasion of his final Grand Prix, in Brazil. Schumacher’s manager Willi Weber, suggested, “Perhaps he’ll build a kart racing track on [the island].”
British superstars Rod Stewart and David Beckham have also been rumoured to have bought into this project, but neither of these have been confirmed. Beckham does own a villa on the nearby Palm Jumeirah.
On 3 May 2007 Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee announced that he was buying the Greece Island for Pamela Anderson, his ex-wife and the mother of their two children. Lee said he chose the island because of his own Greek heritage, and he hopes Pam, the kids and he can spend time there together.
On 15 November 2007 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were reported to have purchased the island Ethiopia. This has since been denied by the couple.
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