Tremors felt as Dubai Pearl demolition work begins after residents report 'earthquake'

Unfinished development near The Palm Jumeirah being knocked down

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Tremors were felt in Dubai on Monday morning as demolition work began on an unfinished real estate project.

A thick cloud of dust rose from the former Dubai Pearl development near Media City around 11am.

Unfinished buildings in the long-abandoned project are being cleared.

Contractors using diggers and a wrecking ball have been pulling down half a dozen buildings in the area since November. Nearby residents felt tremors - which some originally thought was an earthquake.

The Pearl is located on highly valuable land adjacent to The Palm Jumeirah — which has seen a dramatic boom in property prices since the end of the pandemic.

Dubai's government owned the original land, before the development two decades ago, but it is not known what is in store for the site once cleared.

Work on the project stalled around 2011, as several investors in a complex consortium pulled out. At least 1,500 apartments and seven hotels were planned at one stage.

Two Canadian architects made global headlines last year when they proposed building an enormous resort that resembled the Moon on the Pearl site.

In September, Michael Henderson, one of the designers, told The National there were no concrete plans yet for the project, which would cost an estimated $5 billion to build.

“Within the Mena region we could see Moon being developed in either the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain or Kuwait,” he said at the time.

This mock-up design for the Pearl site made global headlines last year - but there are no plans to make it a reality. Photo: Moon World Resorts
Updated: January 23, 2023, 3:02 PM