Dubai’s Nakheel to resume work on revamped Palm Deira project

Nakheel plans to restart work on part of its stalled Palm Deira as it pushes ahead with a raft of additions to its manmade island projects.

A rendering of the planned 11km boardwalk around the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. Courtesy Nakheel
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Nakheel will resume work on part of its stalled Palm Deira as it pushes ahead with a series of additions to its man-made island projects.

The developer made the announcement as a number of projects abandoned following the 2008 property crash are restarted amid growing investor confidence.

Some of them were on display across vast models at the annual Cityscape real estate show in Dubai yesterday.

While the crowds were still much smaller than in 2007 and 2008 at the peak of the market, there were hints of the boom years when an impromptu sale of properties by Emaar descended into an unruly shoving match as tempers flared.

Nakheel’s partial resumption of work on one of the largest projects ever started in the emirate reflects growing confidence in the property market, which some analysts believe needs to cool down after apartment prices rose by more than 40 per cent in some Dubai districts this year alone.

The Palm Deira was originally designed to be the largest of the developer’s three palm-shaped islands, but work ground to a halt part way through its reclamation, even before the onset of the global financial crisis.

“Deira is an untapped destination,” said the Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, in an interview with The National. “It will contribute significantly to the Government of Dubai’s tourism strategy.”

Nakheel wants to redevelop four of the islands that would have originally formed part of the original Palm Deira close to the Deira shoreline.

It could add 21km of beachfront to the coastline and provide infrastructure for dozens of planned hotels as well as new homes and shops.

Initial plans include a night market designed in the style of a traditional souq, with about 1,400 retail units and restaurants. A 250-room hotel is also planned as well as a 30,000-capacity amphitheatre.

The other three islands will feature hotels, resorts and residential, commercial and retail units.

Nakheel will master plan and complete infrastructure work ready for third party development on each island, it said in a statement.

Nakheel also revealed a plan to build an 11km boardwalk around the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah.

It will run the entire length of the crescent, with a pier stretching 100 metres into the Arabian Gulf at either end.

In another addition to the island, Nakheel said it would create a 1.5km beach along the Palm’s western trunk.

The resumption of projects associated with the excesses of the last property boom and bust cycle may raise concerns among some analysts.

Others say a new property bubble is unlikely to form this time around, despite the price escalation of recent months.

“While there are some worrying signs of overheating creeping into the market, there are some key differences this time around which mean that another bubble can be avoided,” said Alan Robertson, the regional chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle.

Better regulation, increased fees for transferring properties and the more phased release of new units by developers wary of flooding the market are some of the reasons that brokers give to support their view.