Dubai is set to build a AD6 billion ($1.63 billion) retail, entertainment and residential project off the coast of the city, a development that will include the world's largest Ferris wheel.
The island project, called Bluewaters, will be developed by Meraas Holding and is the latest in a bevy of major construction and infrastructure projects announced by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum over the last few months.
The project launch comes as the emirate enjoys a trade and tourism inspired economic rebound.
Bluewaters will be located off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence, a residential area of skyscrapers in Dubai Marina, and the 210-metre high Ferris wheel will be named the Dubai Eye, according the official government news agency of the United Arab Emirates.
Construction is set to commence in April and Hyundai Contracting and Starneth Engineering have been appointed as primary contractors for the design and construction of Dubai Eye, the WAM statement added. No details of how the project will be funded were released.
The development will be connected to the mainland by a road bridge from the Sheikh Zayed Road, a mono rail system and a pedestrian bridge to the beachfront.
"We have a clear mission and vision to strengthen Dubai's global position in the tourism sector," Abdullah Al Habbai, chairman of Meraas Holding, said in a statement. "This project will continue to build on the emirate's reputation as leaders in the global entertainment and retail landscape."
Matthew Green, head of research at CBRE Middle East, said the Bluewaters project shows there is clear momentum in Dubai's real estate sector with a notable return to development activity over the past 12 months.
"The recent announcement highlights a clear strategy from the Dubai Government to improve the emirates tourism offer as it aims to be more competitive on the global tourism stage," he added.
In November, Sheikh Mohammed ordered the construction of a new city development named after himself, a project consisting of 100 hotels, the world's largest shopping mall, parks, art galleries and exhibition centers that could cost $10 billion, according to some estimates. Soon after the November announcement, the ruler announced plans for a $2.7 billion leisure complex of five theme parks.
Zawya Dow Jones