Dubai, UAE is growing again and again it's building deeper direct into the sea

Dubai, UAE is growing again and again it's building deeper direct into the sea

Marsa Al Arab is a $1.7b two-island project from Dubai Holding. The man-made structures, 2.5 million square feet in total, will nestle either side of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel.

While one island is geared toward tourists with a theme park and marine education complex, the other island will feature luxury residences and a private marina.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands While one island is geared toward tourists with a theme park and marine education complex, the other island will feature luxury residences and a private marina.

The whole project will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Dubai's Jumeirah Beach, and with completion penciled in for late 2020, will come just in time for Expo 2020.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands The whole project will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Dubai's Jumeirah Beach, and with completion penciled in for late 2020, will come just in time for Expo 2020

Marsa Al Arab will join numerous other man-made structures off the coast of Dubai. This shot, taken from the International Space Station, captures the Palm Jumeirah and the World Islands.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands Marsa Al Arab will join numerous other man-made structures off the coast of Dubai. This shot, taken from the International Space Station, captures the Palm Jumeirah and the World Islands

This is a view of the Palm Jumeirah after its completion in 2007. It was the first offshore development of its kind and has villas, hotels, shopping malls and its very own monorail.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands This is a view of the Palm Jumeirah after its completion in 2007. It was the first offshore development of its kind and has villas, hotels, shopping malls and its very own monorail

A view of Atlantis, the luxury hotel located at the top of the Palm Jumeirah islands.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands A view of Atlantis, the luxury hotel located at the top of the Palm Jumeirah islands

The Burj al-Arab is the third tallest hotel in the world and sits on an artificial island 280 m from Jumeirah beach on the mainland. Designed to resemble the sail of the ship, the luxury hotel has become an icon of Dubai.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands The Burj al-Arab is the third tallest hotel in the world and sits on an artificial island 280 m from Jumeirah beach on the mainland. Designed to resemble the sail of the ship, the luxury hotel has become an icon of Dubai

An aerial view shows an unfinished area of the human-made Palm Jebel Ali island built by Nakheel property giant off the coast of the Gulf emirate of Dubai. Following the financial crisis of 2008 the project was put on hold.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands An aerial view shows an unfinished area of the human-made Palm Jebel Ali island built by Nakheel property giant off the coast of the Gulf emirate of Dubai. Following the financial crisis of 2008 the project was put on hold

The World or World Islands is an artificial archipelago in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The various islands form a world map that can be seen from an aerial view.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands The World or World Islands is an artificial archipelago in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The various islands form a world map that can be seen from an aerial view

The three human-made artificial archipelagos in Dubai (from left): the World Islands, Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands The three human-made artificial archipelagos in Dubai (from left): the World Islands, Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali

The Atlantis Hotel overlooks the Palm.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands The Atlantis Hotel overlooks the Palm

A dredger barge pumps sand onto the sea bed three miles off the Dubai coast in 2002 during the construction of the Palm Jumeirah.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands A dredger barge pumps sand onto the sea bed three miles off the Dubai coast in 2002 during the construction of the Palm Jumeirah

A super yacht moored off The Palm.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands A super yacht moored off The Palm

Dubai celebrates the landmark grand opening of Atlantis, The Palm Resort in 2008.

Making Atlantis: Dubai's artificial islands Dubai celebrates the landmark grand opening of Atlantis, The Palm Resort in 2008


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Global investment company Dubai Holding unveiled this week plans for Marsa Al Arab, a four million square feet pair of man-made islands either side of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the city's iconic sail-shaped hotel.

The project, estimated to cost $1.72 billion, will add 1.4 miles of beach to Dubai's coastline. With ground breaking scheduled for June, Dubai Holding say the islands will be completed late 2020.

Geared towards tourists, one island will include family-friendly resorts, a 2.5 million square-foot marine park and a custom built 1,700-seat theater, home to the Middle East's first Cirque du Soleil show. It will also house 300 seafront apartments.

The second, private island is set to host 14- luxury villas and marina for residents, along with a boutique hotel.

Marsa Al Arab will add 2,400 hotel rooms to the Jumeirah Group's portfolio. The group is part of Dubai Holding, which is majority-owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai.

Jumeriah Group have experience when it comes to man-made islands.

They manage the Burj Al Arab, located 280 meters off Jumeirah Beach on artificial land first constructed in 1994.

Other artificial islands of grander scale and logistical complexity have followed the Burj, with varying levels of success.

Sea dredgers are used to create Dubai's artificial islands.

Sea dredgers are used to create Dubai's artificial islands

Palm Jumeirah, 9.6-square miles and constructed between 2001 and 2006, is now home to hundreds of family residences and at least two dozen hotels.

Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira are both set to eclipse the Jumeirah, but have suffered setbacks stemming from the global financial crisis of 2008. Construction of the former began in 2002 but it remains incomplete, while the latter, still in construction, has been scaled down and rebranded Deira Islands.

Luxury 300-island system The World (archipelago) was constructed 2.5 miles off the Dubai coast between 2003 and 2008. Most islands were sold off to contractors to build private residences in 2008, but thus far the archipelago remains largely unoccupied.

Jumeirah Group will be hoping Marsa Al Arab will avoid this fate, positioning the project as a tourist-friendly locale happy to host the influx of visitors expected to descend upon the city for Expo 2020.

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