Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Dubai businessman ready to take on The World

Dubai The World Island project Wikimedia Commons/Axelspace Corp
Launched by Nakheel in 2003, The World islands are seeing renewed interest from potential buyers
  • Real estate uplift renews interest in manmade islands
  • 300-island scheme developed by Nakheel
  • Lack of amenities or infrastructure is sticking point

A Dubai businessman is in talks to try and launch a project on The World, as the emirate’s record-breaking real estate market revives interest in the manmade island development.

The World was launched in 2003 by state-owned master developer Nakheel.

Made up of 300 small manmade islands in the shape of the map of the world, it was conceived as a luxurious private development of tourist destinations and secluded homes for the ultra-wealthy.

Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of bnbme holiday homes, said he was in talks with Nakheel in 2019 to build a holiday home destination on one of the islands.

However, the discussions fell through in the wake of the pandemic.

“The conversation with Nakheel before Covid was about how they can help us generate revenue,” Mahtani said.

“Now things have changed because everyone’s trying to buy and the islands have become a sought-after asset.” 

Mahtani is now looking for investment partners to resurrect his plans.

“The islands facing or closer to [the scheme’s version of] Antarctica are better locations,” he said.

Dubai’s real estate sector is enjoying record interest. Property consultancy CBRE reported that average residential prices in June increased by 16.9 percent year on year.

Almost 58,000 deals took place in the first six months of the year, the highest level on record.

Last week the island of Turkey was put up for auction, with the price tag starting at AED78 million ($21.24 million).

A Dubai Land Department valuation certificate included with the advertisement on the Emirates Auction website values the island at AED128 million. Bidding on it was set to end on July 26 but has been extended.

Renewed interest

Andrew Love, partner and head of Middle East Capital Markets at real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank, said he is not surprised to see renewed interest in the project.

“With beachfront villas in limited supply and prices at all-time highs, you may start to see a resurgence in interest with high net worth individuals building out private homes on their own islands versus paying AED10,000 per square foot for a villa on the Palm,” he said.

Love warned that the lack of critical infrastructure and amenities has impeded the islands’ appeal to investors and developers so far.

However, Mahtani said the “empty canvas” element of the project was also one of its key attractions. 

“That’s the beauty of it – a raw island to build what you want,” he said.

Some projects have already got off the ground including a hospitality destination launched on the Lebanon island.

The Heart of Europe is also a large scheme being developed by the Kleindienst Group across six islands.

Nakheel did not respond to requests for comment.

Latest articles

UAE France

Climate transition galvanises ties between UAE and France

Climate transition is becoming a central focus of economic cooperation between the UAE and France as the countries agreed to establish a “Bilateral Climate Investment Platform”. The platform aims to accelerate joint projects and investments in clean energy sectors, with a particular focus on advancing the decarbonisation of industries such as steel, cement and petrochemicals. […]

Baghdad South power plant: Iraq generates 80% of its power using fossil fuels

Iraq plans push on solar and green hydrogen projects

Iraq is planning to build solar plants and its first green hydrogen project as part of a strategy to tackle power shortages and reduce its carbon footprint. The country’s cabinet has approved a proposal to install 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2030, said a National Investment Commission representative, Rahim Al Jaafari. Projects capable […]

Neom wellness Elanan

Neom announces ‘ultra-modern’ wellness resort

Saudi Arabia’s mega-city Neom has announced plans for another wellness resort on the Gulf of Aqaba.  The new site, Elanan, will be a wellness resort with architecture that uses “ultra-modern design techniques to form intricate sculptures that merge with the surrounding natural beauty,” Neom said on its website. The website shows images of a futuristic-looking […]

Muslim pilgrims pray on the Mount of Mercy outside the holy city of Mecca during the annual hajj pilgrimage in 2023

Saudi visas on arrival for European and US pilgrims

Saudi Arabia is offering visa on arrival for pilgrims who are resident in the EU, US and UK, or who possess a valid visa for those countries. The decision is part of efforts to boost religious tourism to the country.   The Saudi ministry of Hajj and Umrah revealed the new regulations for the Umrah pilgrimage […]