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Dubai's palm tree island developers set to build new man-made islands

Nakheel is set to construct Dubai Islands resort on the emirate's northern coast
Proposed design for Dubai Islands from Nakheel's website (Nakheel)
The proposed design for Dubai Islands, which will cover 17 square kilometres of coastline (Nakheel)

The company responsible for the UAE's palm tree-shaped Palm Islands is set to develop several new, man-made islands amid the city's housing boom.

Dubai-based property developer Nakheel PJSC said it had secured 17 billion dirhams ($4.6bn) in financing from local investors, with plans to create new projects, including the development of its Dubai Islands.

On Tuesday, Nakheel announced in a statement that the transaction comprised 11 billion dirhams in refinancing and additional funds of six billion dirhams through a syndicate from Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank.

While 11 billion dirhams will be used to refinance its existing debt, the latter will be used to “accelerate the development of its new projects, including Dubai Islands and other large waterfront projects”, it said in a statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Nakheel, most commonly known for its artificial palm-shaped islands, has been seen by some as a key to solving Dubai’s debt crisis during 2009-2010.

Now it is set on constructing a cluster of man-made islands, which will be situated along the emirate’s northern coastline.

Dubai's artificial palm-shaped islands (Wikimedia Commons/Richard Schneider)
Dubai's artificial, palm-shaped islands (Wikimedia Commons/Richard Schneider)

The Dubai Islands project will comprise five islands over an area of 17 square kilometres. It will include beachfront apartments and host over 80 resorts and hotels, such as luxury and wellness centres and family and eco-conscious hotels.

"Situated along Dubai’s northern coastline, the islands are easily accessible by land and sea through road bridges and water transport, and are an integral part of the future vision for the emirate," reads a description on the company's website.

Though the company has been an integral part of Dubai’s real estate market development, it has also been embroiled in its share of scandals.

Nakheel’s ambitious construction of its world-famous Palm Islands has drawn massive criticism from environmentalists. The project has not only drastically changed the local ecosystem, it is also at risk of ending up under water, according to the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

The clearing of the sea bed required to build the Palm Islands has shifted the wave, temperature and erosion patterns in the Persian Gulf, as well as killing off a square mile of coral.

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