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Reason why Dubai's $12,000,000,000 man-made islands are still empty today

Reason why Dubai's $12,000,000,000 man-made islands are still empty today

The 300-strong World Islands project is just one of Dubai's artificial archipelagos.

You’ll often hear Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, going by many a moniker.

Known for its sprawling shopping scenes and built-up landscape, many have dubbed it the City of Gold while others refer to it as Gulf Tiger or the City of Dream Towers.

One of the paramount trade and tourist centres in the Middle East - Dubai is also a hub for über-rich house hunters who aren’t afraid to splash the cash.

KARIM SAHIB / Contributor / Getty
KARIM SAHIB / Contributor / Getty

Famous faces such as David and Victoria Beckham, Lionel Messi and designer Giorgio Armani are known to have purchased properties in the past whilst celebrities such as Roger Federer, Ben Affleck and Tom Cruise have spent various summers in the city.

While Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Al Arab are some of Dubai’s iconic landmarks, you might also remember the ambitious World Islands.

Just two miles off the city’s coast, the World Islands project is a collection of man-made plots that cost a reported $12 billion to create.

Spanning 5.4 miles, these spaces were made using sand from the Persian Gulf and range from 250,000 to 900,000 sq ft. each.

At the time of their unveiling in 2003, plans for the paradise included the installation of luxury hotels, resorts and private homes for celebrities and public figures.

CHRISTIAN CHAISE / Contributor / Getty
CHRISTIAN CHAISE / Contributor / Getty

Unfortunately, the World Islands project, which features 300 islands resembling the seven world continents, never really took off.

This is reportedly because the UEA’s real estate sector was plagued with economic trouble in 2007-2008.

Due to an estimated $300 billion worth of projects being halted, scaled down or cancelled, the 300 island efforts have yet to be completed.

But while this ambitious estate remains largely empty, there is a silver lining.

Lebanon Island, set within the World Islands project, is completed and open to the public.

The luxury resort features two beaches, a swimming pool, a Beach Volleyball court and a restaurant.

In 2020, Austrian entrepreneur Josef Kleindienst announced he would be developing The Heart of Europe in the European section of the world.

The 61-year-old’s idea was to develop the islands of Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Ukraine, Switzerland, Monaco and Main Europe into a luxury resort.

It’s previously reported that his firm, JK Properties, wanted to build stores only accepting the Euro as currency and that artificial rainfall would be installed on a single street.

The Heart of Europe project is expected to be completed by 2026, costing an eye-watering total of $5 billion.

Due to the reported cost of the man-made areas, it’s a little disappointing that limited development has taken place 20 years since the project’s unveiling.

However, Dubai’s tourist authority is adamant that construction will continue on the World Islands and that private residences, mansions and resorts are set to be erected.

Featured Image Credit: KARIM SAHIB / Contributor / CHRISTIAN CHAISE / Contributor / Getty