Limitless holds back on canal land sales

The developer, owned by Dubai World, had originally intended to start selling land for development in June but will wait until market conditions improve.

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Limitless, a developer owned by Dubai World, will hold back on selling plots of land surrounding its Dh40.4 billion (US$11bn) Arabian Canal project to sub-developers until market conditions improve. The company had originally intended to start selling land for development in June. "Everything is ready to sell, we're just judging the best time to start selling," said Ian Raine, the project's director.

"We haven't set a definite date yet, but obviously we need to take into account what's going on. But there's been a lot of interest from developers in the project." Excavated earth will be reused to form new landscapes in the form of hills and valleys along the banks of the canal, where the company is planning a city for an estimated 1.5 million people. The city, whose anticipated value will be Dh183bn, will include hotels, apartment buildings, villas, museums and shops.

Mr Raine added that the amount of land created by the development could attract more than 100 sub-developers to the project. The earthworks on the project are now underway after Tristar Transport and Contracting, an Abu Dhabi company, was awarded the contract for the first phase in September. About 100,000 cubic metres of earth is now being moved each day. Mr Raine said the company had not changed its target date for completion of the project.

"We haven't made any changes but we do have to take into account market conditions, and if those conditions mean we have to react, then we will." Ten contractors have been invited to bid for the second phase, with the contract due to be awarded early next year. This will be the second of 10 contracts to be awarded for the project, involving the excavation of about 300 million cubic metres of earth along an 8.5km stretch of the canal's route.

"We've not seen any shortage of interest from contractors in their willingness to work on this kind of project," said Mr Raine. Work on the canal alone will require 10,000 construction workers, hundreds of giant drills and bulldozers, and four years of digging. The entire project stretches across 14,000 hectares - almost half as big as Abu Dhabi Island - and is expected to take between 15 and 20 years to complete.