An artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, Palm Jumeirah increased Dubai’s shoreline dramatically, as well as creating a world-class platform for hotels, resorts and villas. The entire project was to have been capped off by the Trump International Hotel & Tower on the trunk, a 62-storey mixed-use project on the Golden Mile.
First announced in 2005, Nakheel announced in 2009 that work had been suspended indefinitely. This sentiment was echoed later by Donald Trump Jnr., who stated that construction on the billion-dollar project would not happen “any time soon”.
Despite the bursting of the real-estate bubble and the myriad troubles that embroiled master developer Nakheel, the Palm Jumeirah remains a stunning engineering feat. The crescent is constructed from rock, while all the frond-like islands contained within are (literally) built on sand.
The breakwater stands in 10.5m of open ocean at its deepest point, rising to 4m above chart datum, or sea level at low tide. The breakwater was designed to protect the Palm Jumeirah against worst-possible sea conditions, including once-in-a-century Shamal-induced storm events, and even global warming.
Sand, covered by an erosion-preventing water-permeable geotextile, comprises the breakwater’s lowest layer. One-ton rocks cover the sand, with two layers of large rocks, weighing up to six tons each, capping the structure. A ‘toe’, placed by a floating crane, sits inside the crescent. The breakwater also has two 100m openings on each side to eliminate stagnation in the channels. These gaps allow water to recirculate every 13 days.
With the crescent in palce, 4.8m cubic metres of rock were positioned to create the land foundations of the inner frond-like islands. Ten dredgers then began working around the clock to transfer an astonishing 92.234m cubic metres of sand to build up the required land mass.
One of the latest developments at Palm Jumeirah is master developer Nakheel issuing a tender for infrastructure works on Frond ‘N’. It has invited suitably-qualified contractors, licensed by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, to bid for Tender No. N-006-4-60.
The project comprises: roads, parking, driveways and sidewalks; street lighting, stormwater drainage network; vacuum sewerage; ancillary control and monitoring system; irrigation water system and fire hydrants; utility road crossings: potable water system, electrical network; telecoms network and LPG gas house connections. The closing date for bids from interested contractors is 4 March.
Nakheel has also announced plans to build an exclusive new $80m restaurant and shopping area at the tip of its Palm Jumeirah development in Dubai. The Pointe will be constructed at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah’s trunk, facing the Atlantis hotel. It will cover 131,000m2 and include 56,120m2 of high-end retail shops, a combination of informal and formal dining, a 34,130m2 promenade, a marina with floating pontoons and a computerised water fountain set offshore.
The Pointe will also have 1,200 parking spaces and be linked to the Palm Jumeirah monorail system. Water taxis will also operate between the Palm Atlantis and the Pointe, while the marina will allow boat owners to moor nearby and visit the development. Initial designs for the project have already been produced by Dar Al Handasah, with plans allocating space for 75 retail shops and 120 cafes and restaurants.
Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah told reporters that tenders for work on the project would be announced within the next two months, and that work would begin on-site by mid-year. He said construction would take 18 months, and that The Pointe would be ready to open at the end of 2013.
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