Dubai unveils new mega project to boost tourism

February 14, 2013 12:12 pm

The Bluewaters Island project, which is being built near Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), will feature a new landmark for Dubai – the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. Known as the Dubai Eye, the structure will stand 210 metres (688 feet), exceeding the London Eye’s 135m (443ft). The Dubai Eye alone will cost Dhs1bn to build.

“The world’s largest Ferris wheel will prove a must-visit experience for visitors and residents in the UAE and articulates Dubai’s long-term vision to be a key tourism hub in the world,” according to a statement from state news agency WAM.

The developer of the project, Meraas Holding, said the island is expected to attract more than three million visitors a year. The plan includes connecting the island to the mainland by a road to Sheikh Zayed Road, a mono rail system between the entertainment zone and the metro and a pedestrian bridge to the JBR beachfront, while a cable car will ferry visitors to the entertainment piazza.

The development will also feature retail, residential, hospitality and entertainment zones. A bespoke souq encircled by a promenade will contain alfresco dining outlets serving a variety of cuisine, retail stores and a food hall offering fresh produce in a traditional market atmosphere. A luxury five-star hotel and varied residential options will also be built on the island.

The developer said the Dubai Eye would offer views of Dubai’s coastline and iconic landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa. The piazza at the base of the wheel would serve as an entertainment zone and a unique venue for special occasions and conferences, while a large LED screen mounted on the wheel would create an innovative electronic platform for broadcasting, adverts, and interactive information.

“The Dubai Eye will serve as yet another iconic structure and will distinctively dominate the Dubai skyline,” Meraas Holding chairman Abdullah Al Habbai said.
“We are confident Bluewaters will develop into a key attraction for the UAE, further enhancing Dubai’s status as the preferred global entertainment and retail hub. With its refreshing and well-appointed mix of amusement avenues as well as dining and shopping choices, the island city will provide limitless options for smart living and leisure.

“We have a clear mission and vision to strengthen Dubai s global position in the tourism sector. This project will continue to build on the emirate’s reputation as leaders in the global entertainment and retail landscape. Through Meraas’s continued investment into similar mixed used developments, we aim to draw sustained investment and tourism from around the world.”

The new project is the latest in a series of major developments announced in recent months in Dubai. In November, Meraas was chosen to develop a Dhs10bn complex of five theme parks, including one focused on India’s Bollywood cinema industry. Also in the works are plans to build a new multi-billion dollar project called Mohammad Bin Rashid City on the outskirts of the emirate. The development, which will be built by Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties, will include the world’s biggest shopping mall, a Universal family theme park and a park that is a third bigger than Hyde Park in London.

Construction of the Bluewaters Island project is due to start in April, 2013, with the Dubai Eye scheduled for the second quarter of 2013. Hyundai Contracting and Starneth Engineering have been appointed as primary contractors for the design and construction of Dubai Eye.