Nakheel denies knowledge of 'floating villas' for World

Promoters of Dh100m villas claim to meet Nakheel’s standards

A day after a Dubai-based joint venture announced a floating villa project on Dubai’s The World islands, masterdeveloper of the project Nakheel says they have not been approached about the idea.

Called ’Ome, the venture claims to have the answer to the need of a home for some of the “frustrated owners” of the 300-odd islands that form part of The World.

But Mohammed Al Mansoori of Nakheel told Emirates 24|7, “We are not involved and have not been approached for such concept.”

The JV between Palmerstone and Donald Starkey Designs has developed the floating villa on a monocoque type structure, which can be manoeuvred between Dubai’s coast and The World, the company said in a statement.

“The layout can be adjusted to suit each owner’s requirements. The design is intended to align with maritime law, as well as meeting the design standards of The World’s developer, Nakheel,” the statement said.

However, with Nakheel denying any knowledge, the claims of project will now be under close scrutiny.

Earlier story
The 32m in-diameter floating villa was apparently designed in response to the demands of a UAE resident; however the design team had bigger plans. The ’Ome villa design is projected to change the state of The World – the luxurious Dubai archipelago – by providing a self-sustaining floating villa to aid maintenance and irrigation for island owners.

When queried by Emirates 24/7 on the pricing front, the company did not answer specifically on how much a standard ’Ome would cost. “When it comes to the cost of building an ’Ome,” said Graham Henderson, owner of Palmerstone and the developer of the ‘Ome, “while we have a starting budget in mind, we can’t really gauge how much the cost to build will be, as that will depend on the clients’ overall specifications.”

However, speaking at the 2011 Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) recently, ’Ome designer Donald Starkey, a world-renowned yacht designer, said that the floating villa was estimated at anything between €17 million and €20 million (between Dh85m and Dh100m). “We’re still investigating that [price of an ’Ome] but indications are it will be in the region of 17 to 20 million euros,” Starkey said in an interview to during the 2011 MYS.

A number of buyers on the Nakheel-backed chain of islands have failed to begin work in the wake of plummeting prices in Dubai’s real estate market. Now, when the Dubai property market is showing sure signs of a revival, the ’Ome offers hope to at-sea owners of the islands where construction had earlier ground to a virtual standstill in the wake of the economic downturn.

“The unique prospect of owning an island on The World brings its own set of challenges, and we believe we have created something that will deal with all the considerations that island owners have to deal with when it comes to developing their island,” said Starkey.

The ’Ome can be built on land, and then can be floated to one of the islands on The World, and will have enough energy-generation capacity to provide for the infrastructure for the entire island as well as irrigation for growing vegetation, without the need to break ground.

Building on the mainland will therefore avoid the logistical problem that building on an island entail, the promoters of the ’Ome maintain. It is planned that ’Omes will be built on the Dubai mainland, but the design is applicable to almost any coastal location, and the company is considering the potential for builds in destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar and other island or remote beach locations around the globe.

Featuring five bedrooms, large open planning living areas and a central 10m diameter seawater pool encompassing more than 1,400 m² of usable living space, the first available ’Ome will in a 32m diameter form, comprising an upper and lower deck configuration.

Henderson added that smaller models were also being considered, which could be used to form clusters for use by hospitality providers such as for a hotel or short-term lease option with services provided. “It is estimated that each ’Ome will take around 22 months to complete,” he said in the statement.

“Costs are anticipated to be less than building a yacht of comparable size, but the option of an ’Ome means you are not required to purchase a mooring as you own one already, and so can use the ‘Ome as a conventional home, with your own choice of sea front views having created your own personal beach,” he added.

“There are also the possibilities that a family or small communities can be created by having more than one per island and the fact that the ’Ome is self-sustainable, each will contribute to the overall maintenance of the island’s landscaping thus ensuring The World is alive and very well,” Henderson said.

Each ‘Ome will be self-sustainable, with power, water and waste management included as part of the overall design. The ‘Ome will also include photovoltaic cells on its roof, which will enable the property to be completely self-powered; it’s estimated that each ’Ome would be capable of producing enough energy to power six large households, approximately 30,000 kW of pure renewable energy, which will reduce running costs for owners, as well as reducing their carbon footprint. Service and towing support to move the ’Ome will be provided by a facilities management company.

While the concept has just been launched in Dubai and therefore the firm hasn’t received any orders yet, the developers told Emirates 24/7 that the ’Ome’s designs were received with excitement at the recent Boat Show in Monaco.

The ‘Ome has already been nominated for the International Superyacht Society’s (ISS) ISS Fabien Cousteau Blue Award in recognition of its eco credentials.
“There really is no limit to where we can build the ‘Ome, and considering the specific requirements  of people looking to the ‘Ome as a solution, the interior design and fit out will also provide limitless options,” said Henderson.



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