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Sun 14 Aug 2005 04:00 AM

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Investors plan ‘rotating city’ in Dubai

PLANS have been drawn up to add to Dubai’s collection of quirky construction projects with a multi-billion dirham ‘rotating city’, Arabian Business can reveal.

PLANS have been drawn up to add to Dubai’s collection of quirky construction projects with a multi-billion dirham ‘rotating city’, Arabian Business can reveal.

A group of investors is planning to build the development within the emirate’s huge leisure complex, DubaiLand. The venture, thought to be the first of its kind, is expected to cost around US$1 billion.

“It’s going to be a big surprise, one of the wonders of the world,” said a senior source involved in the project’s planning. “It’s very unique. It’s the first rotating city in the world,” he added.

The project’s planners have proposed that the development itself, as well as the individual properties it contains, will revolve. It is expected to include around 20 apartment towers with rotating floors, as well as separate villas that revolve while moving up and down on supports.

“The whole thing rotates,” said the source. “You will be able to acquire villas, apartments, floating villas on water, [and] flying villas [that] elevate in the air. So you have the accessibility to a villa that not only rotates on ground, but it gives you up to a 15 metre to 20 metre up in-the-air elevation. It’s a mind-blowing project. We [will] have 20 towers with every single floor rotating. The capitalisation of the project is going to be in the range of AED3.7 billion to AED4 billion (US$1 billion to US$1.09 billion),” he added.

The venture would be one of over 200 individual construction projects expected to make up DubaiLand, which was announced by the emirate’s government in 2003. It aims to house around 55 hotels and become the largest leisure, entertainment and tourism attraction in the world.

Divided into six different sections focusing on themes such as eco-tourism, sports and retail, the development is expected to be twice the size of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and cover some 3 billion square feet.

Phase one of DubaiLand’s construction is scheduled to take place between 2007 and 2010, while its overall completion is tabled for between 2015 and 2018. Its developers reportedly expect it to attract almost US$10 billion of investment by 2010, helping the emirate to achieve its target of 15 million tourist arrivals by the same date.

With most of the project’s capital investment likely to come from the private sector, investors have already put forward several other huge projects for inclusion within the resort. Plans were unveiled last November for a multi-billion dirham retail development within DubaiLand, dubbed ‘Dubai Outlet City’. Last month, it was announced that a fully integrated ‘golf city’ will be set up in the development, costing almost US$2 billion.

DubaiLand will be located in the swathe of desert just off Sheikh Zayed Road, the main highway linking Dubai with Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. When fully operational, the promoters expect it to attract more than 200,000 visitors per day and employ around 300,000 people.

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