Buyers line up for Palm island properties

An artistÕs perspective of the Palm Island.

Enquiries are pouring in for hotel and residential properties now up for sale on the giant palm tree-shaped resort island off the shores of Dubai, the developers have said.

The Palm Jumeirah - first of two islands - is a multi-billion-dollar resort in the shape of 17 huge fronds surrounded by 12 km of protective 200-m wide barrier reefs, adding 120 km of sandy beaches to the emirate's coastline.

The sale of plots on the island's 'crescent', which will host up to 40 themed hotels, has started with residential properties on one of the fronds carrying price tags from Dh1.7 million for a three-bedroom home on a 3,500-sq-ft built-up area to Dh4.65 million for a five-bedroom home on a 13,000-sq-ft plot.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai Palm Developers and executive chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, added that more than 3,000 people from all over the world had showed serious interest in The Palm.

Sulayem said there was also a keen interest from leading hotel groups, among them the Metropolitan Group, the Kempinski Group, and Rotana group which have confirmed their presence on the island.

"We are in serious discussions with several other major hotel groups and have received strong indications from an additional six investors and hotel operators, who have expressed a desire to conclude deals in the coming days.

The local Al Habtoor Group confirmed that it would build a new property on the island.

"We are extremely pleased with our acquisition of one of the prime plots at The Palm, Jumeirah. We will contract international resorts consultants to propose unique design concepts for our new hotel in keeping with the exclusive style of this project," said group chairman Khalaf Al Habtoor.

Rotana has said it will invest Dh250 million ($68 million) to develop a hotel and had booked a 450,000 sq ft plot of land on the Palm Island.

"The land will cost about Dh45 million to Dh50 million and the development will be about Dh150 million to Dh200 million. We will be looking for investors in the project," said El Zyr.

Construction work is expected to start on the hotel in about a year, he added.

Bin Sulayem confirmed that the project was ahead of schedule and would be raised up out of the sea by the latter half of 2003. Nearly 25 per cent of the total 3.8 million cu m of rock placement and nearly 20 per cent of 91.5 million cu m of reclamation works were already complete, he said.