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The Palm Islands are artificial islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on which major commercial

The Palm Islands are artificial islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on which major commercial and residential infrastructure will be constructed. They are being constructed by Nakheel Properties, a property developer in the United Arab Emirates, who hired Belgian and Dutch dredging and marine contractor Jan De Nul and Van Oord, some of the world's specialists in land reclamation. The islands are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira. Each settlement will be in the shape of a palm tree, topped with a crescent, and will have a large number of residential, leisure and entertainment centers. The Palm Islands are located off the coast of The United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf and will add 520 kilometres of beaches to the city of Dubai. The first two islands will comprise approximately 100 million cubic meters of rock and sand. Palm Deira will be composed of approximately 1 billion cubic meters of rock and sand. All materials will be quarried in the UAE. Among the three islands there will be over 100 luxury hotels, exclusive residential beach side villas and apartments, marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities and health spas. The creation of the Palm Jumeirah began in June 2001. Shortly after, the Palm Jebel Ali was announced and reclamation work began. The Palm Deira, which is planned to have a surface area of 46.35 square kilometres, was announced for development in October 2004. Construction was originally planned to take 1015 years, but that was before the impact of the global credit crunch hit Dubai.

Construction proceeds at the Atlantis site of the Jumeira Palm Island in Dubai
Palm Jumeirah project under threat Construction proceeds at the Atlantis site of the Jumeira Palm Island in Dubai. Construction proceeds at the Atlantis site of the Jumeira Palm Island in Dubai. Anonymous/AP Man-made, palm-tree shaped island development that has attracted celebrities may be in peril Levent Hassan knows all about the financial challenges facing Dubai. Mr. Hassan is a real estate agent who buys and sells properties on Palm Jumeirah, the man-made, palm-tree-shaped island where celebrities like David Beckham and Brad Pitt have bought luxury homes. When villas on the island first went up for sale in 2002 they were snapped up and prices for some soared well above $10-million (U.S.). Not any more. In some places, prices have been reduced by at least 50 per cent or 60 per cent and in some places more, Mr. Hassan said Thursday from Dubai. Things had been picking up in the last couple of months, but news of financial problems

at Dubai World, which owns the developer of Palm Jumeirah, could put the project in peril. The developer, called Nakheel, has $3.5-billion worth of debt coming due next month and some analysts question whether it will be able to meet the commitment. The problems at Nakheel have forced Dubai World, a holding company with dozens of international investments, to seek a standstill agreement from creditors who are owed roughly $60-billion. For months, analysts have watched as the recession hit Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. There have long been fears the glitzy city-state overextended itself with a wave of gigantic projects, many of which have now been stopped in mid-construction. Perhaps nothing epitomizes Dubai's excess like Palm Jumeirah. When construction began in 2001, the project was the largest land reclamation venture ever, involving close to 100 million cubic metres of sand and seven million tonnes of rock. The development was supposed to be finished in 2005 but it is still not done. When it is complete, about two million people will live on the island's 16 palm fronds and along the 11-kilometre surrounding crescent. Nakheel is working on two other palm-tree-shaped islands nearby and another island project shaped like the globe. Some villas on Palm Jumeirah include two swimming pools, and penthouse apartments cover up to 14,000 square feet. There are also plans for 220 high-end shops and several luxury hotels, including the five-star Ottoman Palace by Rixos, which will feature the world's largest Turkish bath. Last year, the island saw the opening of the $1.5-billion Atlantis resort, with 1,500 rooms and a giant shark tank. The opening celebrations cost $20-million. By early 2009, the project started running into difficulty. After years of soaring house prices and eager buyers, the market cooled. In February, PowerHouse Properties, a local company that tracks the Dubai real estate market, said prices on Palm Jumeirah had dropped by half or more in six months. Four bedroom homes that went for $4-million could be had for $1.6-million, the company said. Prices have fallen further since, and distressed listings have escalated. The owner of an 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment recently almost begged for a buyer distressed sale, very urgent offering the unit for $400,000. Mr. Hassan hopes the problems at Dubai World won't have an impact on buyers. People need to sell and people need to rent, he said. Dubai World's problems are not going to stop that.

"It was constructed of sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf."
The Palm Islands are artificial peninsulas constructed of sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf by the Belgian company Jan De Nul and the Dutch company Van Oord. The sand is sprayed by the dredging ships, which are guided by DGPS, onto the required area in a process known as rainbowing because of the arcs in the air when the sand is sprayed. The outer edge of each Palm's encircling crescent is a large rock breakwater. The breakwater of the Palm Jumeirah has over seven million tons of rock. Each rock was placed individually by a crane, signed off by a diver and given a GPS coordinate. The Jan De Nul Group started working on the Palm Jebel Ali in 2002 and had finished by the end of 2006. There are approximately 10,000,000 m3 of rocks in the slope protection works.

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