The project is being developed by the local Gulf Star World Development, a joint venture of Canada’s Star Leisure & Entertainment, with 80 per cent, and Saudi Arabia’s Jzala, with the remaining 20 per cent. However, agreements are in place for an affiliated US firm, Strategic Internet Investments, to acquire Star’s stake.

The local Robodh Contracting won the $5.1 million dredging contract in 2002 but the start of work, expected to last four-six months, awaited a financing agreement. Under the deal now in place, Robodh will be issued with preferential shares to the value of the contract.

Arkan, part of Saudi Arabia’s Bin Hassan Group, is drawing up designs for the island. Total project costs are estimated at $130 million. Completion is scheduled for 2005.

The island is part of a network earmarked for reclamation to the north of the capital, known as the North Shore development (MEED 17:10:03).