The developer behind an enormous replica of the Taj Mahal in Dubai said that the property will not launch until 2015, up to a year later than scheduled.
Taj Arabia, said to be four times the size of the Agra mausoleum, will form part of the long-delayed Falconcity of Wonders, a huge mixed use site that will feature copies of other global monuments including the Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramids and Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Taj Arabia, whose five-star hotel will contain more than 400 rooms, will be managed by India-based Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts. The project itself is being built by Link Global, a sub-developer working under master developer Falconcity.
The project had been slated for completion in late 2014, but a statement from Falconcity on Wednesday said that it would open in a “phased manner by 2015”. It also said that a construction company had not yet been contracted to build it, with negotiations still ongoing in this regard.
The delay is not the only setback Taj Arabia has faced. The project was last year slammed by cultural officials in India, who claimed the plans to copy the UNESCO world heritage site will detract from the original building.
“It is patently wrong and absurd,” former Agra legislator Satish Chandra Gupta told India’s IANS news agency. “This kind of distortion and in principle duplication of history artificially makes no sense.”
The 40m sqft Falconcity of Wonders was first launched in 2005 and promised attractions including replicas of seven of the world’s most famous monuments, as well as a theme park and retail outlets.
So far the developer has only completed 300 or so villas, a sewerage plant and an electricity substation. The latest timeframe from the company says it will take another seven to ten years to finish entirely.