When Kuwaiti-owned Oqyana – which is an ancient name for the continent of Australasia – first announced its resort development project on The World a couple of years back it was greeted with some skepticism.
However, The Maldives has been extremely successful in developing up market holiday resorts on small desert islands, and the idea of creating such accommodation within easy reach of Dubai International Airport and the city itself does make some logical sense.
The Oqyana project has also undergone some notable changes working in cooperation with master developer Nakheel, and the original cluster of islands is now conjoined and broadened to create a larger and better connected landmass.
Oqyana will comprise two resort hotels, a conference centre and performing arts centre as well as retail and restaurant outlets. There will be 2,000 apartments (some serviced), 211 villas and 100 water homes (half serviced and half for sale).
The plan is to complete the whole of Oqyana for delivery at the same time in 2012 so that nobody has to live beside a construction site. And the first units will go on sale in autumn 2008 with construction starting on the island in the second quarter of next year.
Meanwhile, Nakheel executive Hussein Al Yasiri told AME Info that The World is officially 45 per cent sold out, and that unofficial sales are 'now a lot higher than that'.
He said that only parts of Africa, South America and Russia are still available. The developers of Shanghai recently took a stand at Cityscape to promote sales of property on their island; and rumours of celebrity buyers like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are unconfirmed but equally not denied.
But Al Yasiri said that one map of The World would definitely be enough for Dubai, and that there are no plans for a second or third, like the Palm Islands trilogy. However, there are rumors of a copycat project in the Mediterranean.
More importantly The World project team has been taking a great deal of time working with the Road Transport Authority in Dubai to ensure that the transport logistics for the islands are in place, complete with a marina and ferry network.
Floating around the continent of Australasia on a luxury yacht – about a 20 minute ride from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club – gave AME Info a first hand insight into what living or staying on Oqyana might be like in 2012.
The landmass is more substantial than it sounds and walking around the continent would take an hour or two. And the sense of being able to see the Dubai skyline while being far away from the traffic is relaxing enough. It will be interesting to see how this part of the Dubai vision sells next autumn.
See also:Islands reshaping the 'World' map of the UAEVideo: A world of islandsDubai's Palm and World Islands - progress update