Construction Week Newsletter 19th February 2005

Islands aren't always what they first appear to be.

  • E-Mail
By  Colin Foreman Published  February 19, 2005

Editorial Leader|~||~||~|

When is an island not an island? When it’s a Palm...

Every visitor I took on my guided tour of construction around Dubai last year asked the same inevitable question. “Why is it called the Palm Island when it is connected to the land?” Every time I rolled my eyes and explained that although it is not an island at the moment, it will be in the future. In fact, once the canals are excavated it will be a collection of islands made up of the trunk and the fronds, and the three crescent sections. I then searched for a napkin and proceeded to draw a rather poor diagram. Many of you may have already visited Palm Jumeirah and will know that the island does indeed have a land bridge connecting it to the mainland at the moment, and that it will be excavated at a later date when the road bridge is complete. This makes a lot of sense from a logistical point of view because without this vital supply route, construction work on the Palm would be close to impossible. Just ask any contractor currently working on the Palm Jumeirah. The same process can be seen at the Palm Jebel Ali, as readers who have visited the island will, I am sure, be aware. I had not entertained any guests so had not had this rather tedious discussion for quite some time, but was reminded of it two weeks ago when The Dubai Waterfront was launched. As I am sure most did, I sat in my office looking at the artist impressions of the development and tried to comprehend what a massive project this is. After thinking about how much work it will mean for the industry, I became aware that Palm Jebel Ali had almost been swallowed up by the vast development. This says something about the scale of the project — when it almost engulfs a project that (until Palm Deira was launched in November last year), was set to be the largest reclamation in the world. It also says something else. Is Palm Jebel Ali still an island? My trusty dictionary tells me quite succinctly that an island is indeed “a piece of land surrounded by water.” Looking again at the pictures of The Dubai Waterfront, I ask myself is the Palm Jebel Ali surrounded by water? Technically it is, but really it is now a component (or a part of a much larger development), and it certainly isn’t the island that many people may conjure up in their imaginations when thinking of a luxury holiday island. Is this good or bad? If one had bought a villa on the western edge of the crescent and looked forward to lazy evenings gazing out to sea and quietly contemplating life, then it is easy to see why one could be a bit disappointed: there is now little more than a canal and a ringside seat for at least another five years of dreging and heavy construction as the Waterfront begins to take shape. Perhaps Construction Week should relocate its offices there... On the other hand it may be a blessing, as instead of an island perched on the edge of town, the Palm Jebel Ali will now be slap bang in the middle of one of the region’s biggest developments. Assuming that The Dubai Waterfront is a runaway success (and there’s a good chance it will be) then it should make the property there even more lucrative than it already is, as it becomes a downtown property close to the water with countless amenities nearby. I suppose it all depends on your perspective, but the next time I have visitors I may have to explain to them that it is not an island but a component, or, if I have a napkin handy, I’ll say it’s an archipelago and draw another diagram.||**||

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