Dubai is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and this week officials announced the destination will soon be growing again—this time with two new man-made islands from the same global investment company that has bankrolled other projects in town.
The islands, which will flank the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel, are estimated to cost more than $1.7 billion and will add nearly 1.5 miles to the city’s coastline.
Spokespeople from parent company Dubai Holding said construction would start in June and wrap by the time visitors descend on the city for the World Expo 2020 exhibition that same year.
The islands will comprise 4 million square feet of new space and be known as Marsa Al Arab. According to a recent article from Reuters, one of the islands will feature a theater that eventually will be home to the Middle East’s first Cirque du Soleil show, as well as a host of family-friendly resorts, a marine park, and 300 apartments. The other will include 140 luxury villas, a boutique hotel, and a marina.
All told, CNN reported the islands will add about 2,400 new hotel rooms to The Jumeirah Group, which is majority-owned by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Marsa Al Arab certainly wouldn’t be the first man-made island in Dubai. The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah sits on a man-made island that was built in 1994, and Palm Jumeirah, a series of islands made to look like a palm tree from above, was built between 2001-2006, and today is home to nearly two dozen hotels (and hundreds of private residences).
Perhaps the most famous man-made island project in Dubai has gone unfulfilled; an archipelago of 300 luxury islands was built last decade, but many of the islands remain vacant today.