Redesign rumours slammed

Marwan Al Qamzi, managing director, Palm Jebel Ali, dispels rumours of any redesign on Nakheel's second offshore island.

Al Qamzi says that the Palm Jebel Ali has not undergone any redesign work and the development remains closely integrated with Dubai Waterfront. (Frank
Al Qamzi says that the Palm Jebel Ali has not undergone any redesign work and the development remains closely integrated with Dubai Waterfront. (Frank

Marwan Al Qamzi, managing director, Palm Jebel Ali, dispels rumours of any redesign on Nakheel's second offshore island.

Can you clear up rumours that building has stopped on the Palm Jebel Ali, while a redesign has taken place?

No. They have just started on the design.

And the re-design?

Not 'redesign', 'the design'. Redesign means that we have already designed something - we are currently in the design process. And we have increased the reclamation, as we announced at the Arabian Travel Market - with the new master plan we have put the water homes outside the crescent and we have extended each frond by 650m, on average. We are on schedule - there is no delay whatsoever.

Was Dubai Waterfront affected by these designs?

No, they are totally separate projects.

But didn't they conflict each other?

They are coordinating with each other, because a lot of services are connected. There is no redesign issue; that is inaccurate.

Are you speaking to Dubai Waterfront regularly then?

Yes, we are working in the same offices. We don't take a major decision unless all parties are in agreement. We are in full coordination.

What is currently happening on Palm Jebel Ali?

The contract for bridges has been awarded to Samsung, which is worth around US $300 million (AED1.1 billion). This covers the connections to the crescent; six bridges connecting the mainland with the crescent on both sides and connecting the five islands of the crescent with each other. We will award the contract for the trunk bridge shortly, after evaluating contractors. It is not big; the contract is worth $25 million.

A lot of focus and attention has naturally been spent on the Palm Jumeirah, as it was the first of the three. Do you think Jebel Ali's public perception suffers slightly because it is not the first?

Not really. The advantage of Palm Jebel Ali is that there are a lot of lessons learnt from Palm Jumeirah. And each Palm, we believe, will have its own personality and identity. Palm Jebel Ali is designed to be a resort city, to accommodate between 250,000 - 300,000. But it will be a first-class city. Palm Jumeirah is designed for 80,000 and so is obviously smaller in scale.

So, if you had to single out one lesson that you have learnt from Palm Jumeirah, what would it be?

From an engineering perspective, we need to lay the infrastructure ahead of the superstructure. We should be more accurate with regards to this aspect of the project. I can tell you Palm Jebel Ali is the jewel of Nakheel projects.

Is it also true that construction has stopped on Palm Deira?

No. Last month they announced that they have achieved 20% of reclamation. From my perspective they are ahead of schedule.

There have also been rumours that the Al Burj Tower will not try and match the Burj Dubai in height, and that it may not even be built. Can you comment on what is happening with this project?

What I can tell you is, yes, it will be built, but the site is still to be confirmed. However, we still believe it will be the tallest.

So what major developments do you anticipate for Palm Jebel Ali over the next 12 months?

Buyers will be selecting their designs and we will also award the infrastructure contract. Then we hope that by the middle of next year, we will have started construction on the villas - we are hoping to put that contract out to tender by the end of the year.

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