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It’s the End of “The World”

Bring on the caviar.

Is Dubai in a financial tailspin, or weathering the global bust? The Times recently featured the state’s highly ambitious “The World” project – constructing artificial islands patterned after, what else, but the world. Thus, areas such as England, Scotland, China, etc. were sold to the globe’s multi-millionaires. Brangelina reportedly bought one.

The report speaks a somber tone, “… Mile after mile of breakwater built from boulders brought hundreds of miles by ship has been laid, but inside its man-made lagoon, work has completely stopped. The expected map of the world of 300 islands is instead a disjointed and desolate collection of sandy blots — a monumental folly just out of sight of Dubai’s shore… The World has been cancelled. It doesn’t even look like the world. Basically there is one island that is maintained that is said to be owned by the Sheikh [Dubai’s ruler] and the rest looks like a pile of muck, said one local property agent.”

We noticed one comment on the article that denies rumors of the stalled construction. A resident of Dubai for 32 years posted, “… Nakheel has finished 95% percent of THE WORLD so the work is not stopped but the last minor works are missing. If the works of Nakheel has stopped, the photo which you provided wouldn’t be true. 95% was accomplished just in Q4-08… Nakheel made the islands & sold them to smaller developers. Nakheel owns North Amercia & above which they failed to build because of the crisis. It is those developers who stopped the progress of the islands because they ran out of money.”

Economic downturn has touched even this affluent location – driven by their desire to occupy the Guinness Book of World Records’ every page. Clearly, the Middle East isn’t spared from the global crunch. Real estate won’t lose its risk wherever the development may be located. But then again, that doesn’t mean the sheik will be eating fast-food for dinner. Bring on the caviar, please.

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