The World ground to a halt in 2008 when the financial crisis hit Dubai hard. Property prices in the Gulf Emirate state lost more value than anywhere else, and the millionaires' playground project of the World’s Islands began to resemble the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ in folly. The artificial construction of 300 islands off the Dubai coast is allegedly sinking into oblivion, an allegation that Nakheel, the company behind the development vehemently denies.
Nevertheless, development dried up on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s pet project, not only due to the economic collapse but due to the actual difficulties involved in building on the islands. Now, two Dubai businessmen have formed a venture called Atoll Floating Islands, and developed luxury floating ‘Omes which they say could “save the world”, the National
reports. An ‘Ome is a floating home, akin to a luxury yacht, which could be purchased by buyers of World Island’s and moored at the chosen island.
Architect Graham Henderson, who previously worked for Nakheel, joined forces with yacht designer David Starkey to design the 'Ome. At an estimated cost of just $22 million an ‘Ome pictured here
, will be a two deck, five bedroom luxury villa, complete with swimming pool. Henderson says an ‘Ome will enable World Island’s owners to moor at their island without encountering the infrastructure problems the islands present. The ‘Ome was launched at the Monaco Yacht Show in September.
reported that Henderson spoke of the potential, saying
“I am sure when TDIC [Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company] sees the potential that we can float them in and not ruin the delicate ecology people will be encouraged.”
A drawback could well be that after shelling out millions for an island the new owners may not be too keen to live in a floating home next to it. However ‘Omes could well appeal to buyers looking for a floating home without the additional expense of purchasing an actual island that has the potential to sink.
report that Mohammed Al Mansoori of Nakheel said “We are not involved and have not been approached for such concept.”