Exclusive: Dubai's Nakheel plans road link to The World islands

Government developer adopting idea mooted by Emaar boss Mohamed Alabbar earlier this year
By Shane McGinley
Tue 10 Dec 2013 11:07 AM

Dubai’s Nakheel is in advanced talks to build a road link to The World manmade development in a bid to boost land prices and encourage sales of the remaining islands, a source told Arabian Business.

The government-owned developer is said to be drawing up plans to build the road link from the Jumeirah area of Dubai out to The World, an artificial archipelago of islands in the shape of a world map and located 4km off the city’s coast, a source close to the project claimed.

Launched in 2003, with dredging work starting in 2005, around 70 percent of the islands were sold but the 2008 property crash saw a halt to work on the islands, with several owners caught up in legal wranglings with the master developer.

One of the islands – Lebanon – has been turned into a beach resort, while Nakheel CEO Ali Rashid Lootah said in an interview this month the unsold islands would be offered for sale once the market had fully recovered.

The source said the aim of the road bridge was to help boost sales prices for the remaining islands and as a catalyst for existing owners to start construction work.

"Accessibility to any development is critical for
success and so building a hard link to at least a part of the development
should unlock value amongst those potential investors who have looked at the
scheme but have had logistical concerns," Nicholas Maclean, managing director Middle East of real estate consultancy firm CBRE.

The idea was mooted by Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar during an interview with Arabian Business earlier this year when he suggested building a floating bridge out to The World.

“Somebody has to put it back to life. I would probably build a bridge straight into it now – a floating bridge. You need a bridge to at least one of the islands and from there people can go to all the different islands. You need to bring life to it,” Alabbar said.

“I like The World. I like the project. I would have probably done it [given the opportunity] and probably changed a few things. Otherwise I really like the project,” he added.

In response, Nakheel CEO Sanjay Manchanda appealed to the Emaar boos to work with the master developer on the project.

“If he has a proposal of building a bridge, probably he should come and we will see how we can do it,” Manchanda said in April.

* Nakheel no longer responds to media enquiries from Arabian Business, nor does it grant Arabian Business access to any of its media events or announcements.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.