The World is one of the most sensational pharaonic projects among those put in place by Dubai. The work started in 2003 but stopped when Dubai was badly affected by the financial crisis – after an estimated $14billion (£9.9billion) had already been spent.
At the time, Richard Branson posed in a Union Jack suit on the British island, while Karl Lagerfeld announced that he wanted to build a fashion-themed island. Developer Nakheel said that 70 per cent of the islands had been sold – but that came to a halt and the resort-to-be became a ghost town.
At present, only the Dubai version of Lebanon has been fully built. “Lebanon Island” is actually currently up for sale – for a cool Dhs80 million (£15.5 million). According to rumours, the island has a private beach club, an 80-seat restaurant, a swimming pool that would 250 people, two separate beaches and a licensed bar.
Now the emirate tries again and the development of the islands is fully underway again, ten years on. Construction work has begun on the site that sits 2.5 miles off the coast of Dubai.
The World foresee the construction of 300 man-made private islands in the shape of continents located off the coast of Dubai, that reproduced the wonders of the 4 corners of the planet. The World intend to reinvent the earth to offer privacy and exclusivity. The project covers an area of 42 thousand hectares of artificial land surrounded by an oval shaped breakwater to host private homes, estate homes, dream resorts, and community islands.
At the centre, ‘The Heart of Europe’, the atolls dedicated to the Old Continent. Each island range from 250,000 to 900,000 square feet (23,226 to 83,613 square metres) in size, with 50 to 100 metres (164 to 328 feet) of water between each island.
The only means of transportation between the islands will be by marine or air transport.
The World Islands will be located 4 kilometres off the shore of Jumeirah, close to the Palm Jumeirah, between Burj Al Arab and Port Rashid at approximately 25 degrees 13 North and 55 degrees 10 East.
Plans are now back in business for an Ibiza style island, as well as “Floating Venice”, which will come complete with canals and gondolas. Other islands that are being developed include St Petersburg, which is being made into a heart shape and marketed at honeymooners. There’s also Sweden, which currently consists of a half-built palace. You’ll also be able to buy a floating “Sea Horse” hotel, which will cost up for £2.9million (when they are ready).