Monorail crossing allows Atlantis to almost double in size

Development cost of US $650 million jumps to $1.1 billion with second 800-room hotel tower

  • E-Mail
By  Colin Foreman Published  July 3, 2004

The Atlantis resort on the Palm is to almost double in size and value from US $650 million to $1.1 billion following a decision to put in a monorail bridge connecting the trunk and crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. Previously, the developer Nakheel had told Construction Week (Issue 6) that no bridge would mar the area between the fronds and the crescent. Access would be through a submarine tunnel. A large factor in the decision to expand the resort was the development of the infrastructure system on the Palm. “The infrastructure on the Palm is also being improved with the addition of a monorail that will have its final stop at the entrance to Atlantis,” said Butch Kerzner, chief executive officer, Kerzner. Istithmar, the Palm’s developer, and Kerzner are jointly developing Atlantis. None of the new development money is to be spent on the monorail link, which is seen as essential to bring tourists from areas outside the crescent. The revised development plan for Atlantis is expected to use most of the 120 acre site that lies on the central crescent section of The Palm Jumeirah. The marine and entertainment attractions will be increased and a second 800-room hotel tower will be added, bringing the total number of rooms to 2000. With a number of attractions, the resort aims to attract tourists visiting for the day from other hotels in the surrounding area. With road access onto the crescent limited to residents and hotel guests, access for visitors will be provided by the Palm’s monorail system, which will terminate on the crescent at the Atlantis resort. The service will start at the Palm Sales Centre, where 10 000 car parking spaces will be provided, and have three stops on the trunk before crossing over to the crescent by bridge. The stops on the trunk will be at the start of the trunk, the tower, and the retail centre. Original plans for the monorail involved a dual usage tunnel for road and monorail over to the crescent. “The monorail will go over the water and be a stunning way to travel to the resort,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar and of Nakheel. The increased project scope of Atlantis, The Palm is substantial. The planned number of rooms will be increased from 1000 to 2000 developed in two towers. The Royal Towers will consist of 1200 rooms and will target luxury travellers and a second tower of 800 rooms will be aimed at the middle market. The resort will have some unusual and distinctive archaeological marine exhibits. The design is based on the myth of Atlantis and will maintain the iconic deign elements of the Royal Towers in Atlantis, Paradise Island (The Atlantis in the Bahamas), with traditional Arabic design themes. An extensive water-theme park, which at approximately 40 acres will be the largest in the region, will feature unique water attractions, one of the world’s largest marine habitats, a snorkel trail, a swim with the dolphins encounter programme, an array of water slides and The Dig, an Atlantis-themed “archaeological” experience. The water-theme park will have capacity for over 6000 daily visitors. The expansion will also include significant facilities directed towards Dubai’s strong business travel and budding convention market, including a two-storey conference centre wing with a total of over 8600 m2 of function space and a main ballroom of approximately 2100 m2, the largest such room in Dubai outside the Dubai International Convention Centre. An Entertainment Village will also be developed that will feature 2000 m2 of retail space within an 800 m2 area hosting restaurants and food and beverage establishments. Development planning is underway in anticipation of the start of construction, which is projected to start in 2005. Construction is slated for completion in by late 2007. Financing is expected to include an equity component of $400 million to be funded by Istithmar and Merzner. The remaining financing requirement is to be secured through a limited recourse financing via commercial banks prior to the start of construction.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code