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27 February 2024

Nakheel doubles Blue Communities budget

By Joseph George


Nakheel has more than doubled the budget earmarked for its sustainable development initiative – Blue Communities. The move comes following an overwhelming response by various sectors to the launch of the project.

The budget for the project has been increased from Dh200 million to Dh500m, which will be spent during the next five years, said Chief Executive Chris O’Donnell.

The development initiative launched under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will result in the formation of new standards for coastal developments.

“The initial response to the Blue Communities from government, non-governmental organisations and developers has been phenomenal. In light of the feedback, we made a decision to more than double our initial funding to Dh500m over the next five years,” he said.

The money will be used to carry out research on sustainable development, construction, management and governance of coastal communities around the world.

Meanwhile, a Nakheel official yesterday said it is too early to fix a budget for two new projects – The Universe and the redevelopment of the Port Rashid.

Abdul Rahman Kalantar, General Manager of planning, infrastructure and utilities division, told Emirates Business that the project is still at a conceptual stage.

“We will invite consultants to do environmental baseline studies, water hydraulic studies in order to test the quality of water and also invite transportation consultants. Only then can we talk about the master plan and when construction work on the project will start or when the development will be completed. Even the cost will be determined only after engineering studies are completed,” said Kalantar.

The Universe is presently at its initial conceptual stage and will evolve following engineering, feasibility and environmental studies, which are under way. Once these studies have been conducted, a master plan will be created. The Universe is expected to be a flagship development of Blue Communities.

The Universe, a group of reclaimed islands, draws its inspiration from the wonders of the solar system, with islands in the shape of the sun, the moon and the planets. It will be created off Dubai’s coastline close to The Palm Jumeirah, inshore from The World.

Executive Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, while announcing the project at a glittering ceremony on Sunday, termed The Universe as a further indication of Nakheel’s pioneering approach to waterfront developments and a stunning new addition to Nakheel’s groundbreaking and iconic coastal developments The Palm trilogy, The World and Waterfront. “The development will create new luxury living space, commercial opportunities and additional coastline – playing a role in the continued economic growth and success of Dubai as a global business and tourism destination,” he said.

The second project that was announced – the redevelopment of Port Rashid – is aimed at preserving and expanding the area, which has played a central role in Dubai’s development. “With the rise of Jebel Ali port, Nakheel is committed to preserving and expanding this site of historic importance with a new urban waterfront, which will create real estate, generate jobs, attract tourism and help drive economic growth for Dubai and the UAE,” said Kalantar.

Redevelopment plans that are under way include the expansion of the existing Port Rashid land area through land reclamation.

The proposed development is a vibrant mixed use urban waterfront set in Port Rashid’s strategic waterside location and adjacent to Bur Dubai. The estimated residential population will be 200,000.

Port Rashid will continue to operate as the main port in Dubai for tourist and cruise vessels and this will be integral to the redevelopment. Most port operations are being transferred to Jebel Ali as a result of increased customer demand for its state-of the art facilities.

The port development will also include a maritime museum, said Nakheel.