The Palm Jumeirah
When the Palm Jumeirah project was first announced in 2001, it seemed overly ambitious or even impossible, yet it is very much a reality, said Shaheen.
The Palm Jumeirah is now the largest man-made island in the world and can be viewed from outer space. Construction of the island, which consists of a trunk, a crown with 17 fronds, and a surrounding crescent that forms an 11 kilometre-long breakwater, required 94 million cubic metres of sand and seven million tonnes of rock.
The first phase of the Palm Jumeirah residences is already at an advanced stage, with 75 per cent of the 4,000 properties ready for handover. This includes all 20 Shoreline Apartment buildings on the trunk, which house more than 2,600 units. In late 2006, people began moving in, and Nakheel says some 500 families now live on the island.
A number of hotels are also being built on the island, including Atlantis, The Palm - a 1,500 room resort hotel and water theme park - which is expected to open by November 2008.
In addition, 28 beachfront hotels, located on the crescent section of the Palm, will be open by the end of 2009, with most of the word's top brands represented including Hilton, Radisson, and Movenpick.
Construction is also set to begin soon on the centerpiece of the island, The Trump International Hotel and Tower, which will be a luxury 61 storey mixed-use hotel and residential building located on the trunk of the Palm.
Another key feature of the development, the 5.4km-long Palm Monorail, the first of its kind in the Middle East, is due to open at the end of 2008.
Adding to the island's luster, the world's most famous passenger liner, the QE2, will be refurbished and berthed near the Palm Jumeirah, to become a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination, Shaheen said.
Construction of the island has not been without its controversies though. Initial work did not allow for sea flow, leaving water stagnating in between the fronds. Nakheel resolved this, but has faced criticism from environmentalists over the potential damage this - and the other man-made islands - are causing to local sealife.
Palm Jebel Ali
Work on the Palm Jebel Ali, which is located near the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border, began in 2002. The master plan for the island has evolved and is now integrated with the Dubai Waterfront project, which is a large collection of man-made islands, shaped in an arc, which will produce a shelter around the palm-shaped island.
When completed, the Palm Jebel Ali will be the centre of a completely new city, which will be home to up to 1.7 million people by 2020. It will offer 70km of beaches, luxury hotels, and a mixture of housing types.
Construction of the island is currently progressing on schedule, with primary breakwater work completed in December 2006, and reclamation of land from the original master plan now finished. Work on the island's infrastructure began in April 2007, starting with construction of six bridges that will connect the island to the mainland.
The first properties on the island are expected to be ready by the end of 2010.