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Sun 20 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Dubailand's star attractions

Arabian Business explores three of Dubailand's most audacious developments.

City of Arabia

City of Arabia is a 20 million sq ft development lying at the heart of Dubailand, which will serve as its gateway and main residential and retail centre. With business and administrative offices, schools and clinics, supported by luxury apartments, shops, galleries, restaurants and unique attractions, City of Arabia will become a key destination and urban community within new Dubai.

From the Mall of Arabia and the Restless Planet dinosaur theme park, to the 10-kilometre river walk flowing through the Wadi Walk, City of Arabia will provide groundbreaking open-air leisure and entertainment facilities.

Restless planet in particular is the focus of considerable international attention. The world-renowned Natural History Museum of London has drawn on the elite of science, entertainment and technology expertise to bring a host of prehistoric creatures to life. Along with the acclaimed dinosaur authority Jack Horner - who advised Steven Spielberg on the Jurassic Park films - Tokyo-based animatronics team Kokoro have recreated the real life creatures of the Jurassic era. The visitor experience is designed by international theme park specialists Jack Rouse Associates, and will be enclosed by a 75-metre dome.

Elsewhere, covered concourses, water features and a variety of cafes and restaurants are designed to provide a relaxed and congenial ambience. Moreover, the development will be served by its own monorail system to transport residents and visitors around the site. The monorail is planned to link with the Dubai Light Rail Project.

The Snowdome

Dubai Snowdome will be the largest freestanding, see-through dome structure in the world. More than 200m in diameter, and 70m high, the Snowdome will include a rotating ski deck, mountain run, training area, snow play area, toboggan run, penguinarium, ice skating rink, ice skating adventure area and a flying theatre featuring a virtual flight over the Antarctic.

"The complexity of the Snowdome project means that it's not easy," admits Mohammed Alhabbai, CEO of Dubailand. "This will be the first project of its type to be built anywhere in the world - there's nothing else like it."

32 Group, the construction company behind the project, is currently in the final stages of submitting detailed design plans to Dubai Municipality.

"The Snowdome will cater to the whole market," Alhabbai insists. "Ski Dubai caters just to adults, but we will cater to families, to kids and beginners, from three years up to 12 years.

"We have learned from Ski Dubai, and we are working very hard to overcome the technical challenges of such a project," he continues. "We are confident that even in the middle of the summer, at 50 degrees, people will be coming to ski."

The Snowdome will be partially wrapped by a "crescent" of apartment buildings, which will screen the dome from early morning sun, and reduce the heat load. It will also feature a five-star hotel contained within the climate controlled transparent dome structure.

In addition, there will be lodging facilities, comprising of a four star hotel, four star serviced apartments and condominium hotel units, surrounding and flanking the dome, yet architecturally integrated within the entire concept of winter experience.

Universal

City

Universal Studios is to create one of the world's largest theme parks in Dubailand. Developed by Tatweer, Universal City Dubailand will cover 22 million sq ft and is expected to cost more than US$2.2bn. The project will boast scenes from films such as Jurassic Park and King Kong, and contain ‘Hollywood', ‘Metropolis' and ‘Adventure' zones.

Universal Studios is a globally respected and internationally renowned theme park brand. With three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, its theme parks are known for some of most thrilling and technologically advanced ‘ride-the-movies', motion picture and television show-based attractions.

Universal operates theme parks in Los Angeles, Florida, and Japan and has licensing agreements with existing parks currently in development in Singapore.

The Dubailand site will also contain more than 4000 luxury hotel rooms, and over 100 restaurants and retail outlets. In addition, the site will feature areas for commercial office space, and an exclusive residential zone.

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