The Palm Islands are an artificial archipelago (islands) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), off the coast in the Persian Gulf. Major commercial and residential infrastructure will be constructed by Nakheel Properties, a property developer in the UAE. The Belgian and Dutch dredging and marine contractors Jan De Nul and Van Oord, some of the world's leading specialists in land reclamation, were hired to complete construction. The islands are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and thePalm Deira.
Each settlement will be in the shape of a palm tree, topped with a crescent. The settlements will have a large number of residential, leisure and entertainment centers. The Palm Islands will add 520 kilometers of beaches to the city of Dubai.
The first two islands will comprise approximately 100,000 cubic metres (3,500,000 cu ft) of rock and sand. The Palm Deira will be composed of approximately one 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 is planned to have a surface area of 46.35 square kilometres (17.90 sq mi) and was announced for development in October 2004. Before the impact of the global credit crunch hit Dubai, construction was originally planned to take 10–15 years.
Two other artificial archipelagos, The World and The Universe, are located between the Palm Islands.
The Palm Islands are artificial islands constructed from 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 from the dredging ships, which are guided by a Digital Global Positioning System, on to the required area in a process known as rainbowing. The process is known as rainbowing because of the rainbow-like arcs produced 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 Global Positioning System coordinate. The Jan De Nul Group started working on the Palm Jebel Ali in 2002 and had finished by the end of 2006. The reclamation project for the Palm Jebel Ali includes the creation of a four-kilometer-long peninsula, protected by a 200-meter-wide, seventeen-kilometer long circular breakwater. There are 210,000,000 cubic meters of rock, sand and limestone that were reclaimed (partly originating from the Jebel Ali entrance channel dredging work). There are approximately 10,000,000 cubic meters of rocks in the Slope Protection Works.
The Palm Jumeirah consists of a tree trunk, a crown with 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometer-long breakwater. The island itself is five kilometers by five kilometers. It will add 78 kilometers to the Dubai coastline. Over the next three to four years, the first phase of development on the Palm Jumeirah will create 4,000 residences included in a combination of villas and apartments.
According to project developer, Nakheel Properties, residents began moving into their Palm Jumeirah properties at the end of 2006, five years after land reclamation began. This signaled the end of phase one of construction, which included approximately 1,400 villas on 11 of the fronds of the island and roughly 2,500 shoreline apartments in 20 buildings on the east side of the trunk.
In accordance to a deal made with Airship Management Services Inc., Nakheel Properties will mark the arrival of the first residents by bringing one of the world's largest airships, a 60 meter long, 7,100 cubic meter Skyship 600 dirigible to Dubai.
According to officials at Nakheel Properties, the process of adding 78 kilometers of beach is under way. Eight of the 32 hotels on the Palm Jumeirah have begun construction, including the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, which was planned for completion in late 2008 or early 2009. Construction is now delayed and the beaches are expected to open in early 2010. The first phase of Atlantis, The Palm Resort, was scheduled to be completed by December 2008. Atlantis, the Palm opened on September 24, 2008.
The "Golden Mile," the strip of land located along the center of the trunk overlooking the canal, is set for completion in the first quarter of 2008. The tenants started moving in on April 30, 2009. Construction has also begun on the Palm Jumeirah Monorail, which will take three years to complete and will serve as a transit system between the Gateway Station at the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis Station on the crescent. (Emirates News Agency, WAM). The Monorail opened on May 6, 2009, but only utilized the Atlantis Hotel and Gateway Towers Stations.
Palm Jebel Ali
The Palm Jebel Ali Umar began construction in October 2002 and was expected to be completed in mid-2008. Once it has been completed, it will encircle the Dubai Waterfront. The project, which is 50% larger than the Palm Jumeirah project, will include six marinas, a water theme park, a sea village, homes built on stilts, andboardwalks that encircle the fronds of the palm and spell out an Arabic poem by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum:
Take wisdom from the wiseIt takes a man of vision to write on waterGreat men rise to greater challenges
Not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey
As of early October 2007, construction of the Island was on schedule. The breakwater was completed in December 2006 and infrastructure work began in April 2007 .Major construction will not begin until most of the infrastructure work is complete.
One of the first buildings on the Palm Jebel Ali is already planned. Nakheel Properties invited several architects to design a building on a 300,000 meters squared area. The winning design was a building by Royal Haskoning, who has also worked on several other projects in Dubai. The building can be seen here
From the first signs of a slowing Dubai property market, the prices of properties being sold on the Palm Jebel Ali were reported to have fallen by 40% in two months: the fall being attributed to the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Due to the 2008 market decline, work stopped on the Palm Jebel Ali.
In 2012, the first phase of four theme parks will open on the crescent. These parks, which together will be called "World of Discovery," will be developed and operated by Busch Entertainment Corporation. The parks include SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove. The World of Discovery will be located at the top of the crescent, which will be in the shape of an orca (reminiscent of Shamu.)
The Palm Deira was announced for development in October 2004. No timetable for completion has been announced. The first announced design was eight times larger than the Palm Jumeirah and five times larger than the Palm Jebel Ali. The Palm Deira is intended to house one million people. Originally, the design called for a 14 kilometer by 8.5 kilometer island with 41 fronds. Due to a substantial change in depth in the Persian Gulf, the island was redesigned in May 2007. The project then became a 12.5 kilometer by 7.5 kilometer island with 18 larger fronds. It will be located alongside Deira.
By early October 2007, 20% of the island's reclamation was complete as a total of 200 million cubic meters of sand was already used. Then in early April 2008, Nakheel Properties announced that more than a quarter of the total area of the Palm Deira had been reclaimed. This amounted to 300 million cubic meters of sand. Since the island is so large, it is being developed in several phases. The first one is the creation of Deira Island. This portion will sit alongside the Deira Corniche, between the entrance to Dubai Creek and Al Hamriya Port. Promotional materials state that Deira Island will act as "the gateway to the Palm Deira" and help revitalize the aging area of Deira. By early April 2008, 80% of Deira Island's reclamation was complete.
A new redesign was quietly introduced in November 2008, further reducing the size of the project.