By Amy Glass
Deal with US firm Busch will see developer build four theme parks on Palm Jebel Ali.
Nakheel plans to build four theme parks, including a SeaWorld, on one of its palm-shaped islands, the Dubai-owned developer said on Thursday.
Under a deal with US-based Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), Nakheel will build SeaWorld Dubai, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove theme parks on the Palm Jebel Ali under the 'Worlds of Discovery' banner.
The project will be constructed in four phases, with the first phase set to be completed by 2012.
Nakheel CEO Chris O’Donnell said in a statement the deal represented a major coup for the developer.
“We have already agreed partnerships with major brands such as Trump, Cirque du Soleil and Atlantis, and the partnership with BEC is a further example of Dubai’s growth as a city of global prominence,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said the Worlds of Discovery would be designed and managed by BEC, and preliminary design work and site planning was underway.
Nakheel will also develop commercial, residential and shopping districts, and resort hotels and restaurants on the island.
SeaWorld Dubai will host killer whale, dolphin and sea lion attractions, while the Discovery Cove park will feature animal interactions, including swimming with dolphins, rays and exotic fish.
Reclamation work on the Palm Jebel Ali is close to completion, with the island intended to eventually support a population of more than 280,000 people.
Nakheel is also constructing two other palm-shaped islands off Dubai's coast, an archipelago in the shape of a map of the world, another set of islands called The Universe and an extensive beachfront development close to the Palm Jebel Ali.