The first phase of the 870,000-square-metre Aqua Dunya resort is expected to open in early 2008. The project entails construction of the 407-metre-long Desert Pearl cruise ship which includes a 330-room hotel, a souk, port district and a conference centre. In total, the resort will also comprise 170 holiday apartments and 3,400 residential apartments. Local hotel operator Jumeirahhas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to operate this part of the resort.

Future phases will include an adventure reef theme park, two more themed resort hotels, a nine-hole golf course and expansions to the Aqua Dunya theme park. Located on Emirates road next to the City of Arabia project, the client forecasts 1.3 million park visitors in its first year and 3 million a year once the entire project is completed.

Canada’s Forreccarried out the concept design and masterplan; the engineering consultant is US-based Wilbur Smith & Associates; and the UK’s Mace Internationalis the project manager. Contractors will be invited to tender for the infrastructure and enabling works packages in October, for which work is scheduled to begin in January.

Mace is also acting as project manager on the estimated $1,800 million Al-Barari scheme. The mixed-use project will cover an area of 1.4 million square metres and comprise 330 Moorish villas. Located in the Eco-Tourism World at Dubailand, Al-Barari includes 16 different varieties of gardens from across the globe, a large outdoor amphitheatre and a health spa and resort. Abu Dhabi-based Finance Houseis partly financing the project. Local property developer Abwab Real Estateis the client.

More details have also been released on the $1,500 million Falcon City of Wonders project. The local Salem Al-Moosa Groupis the client.Built in the shape of a falcon, the 4 million-square-metre development will entail the construction of commercial, residential, educational and leisure facilities (MEED 8:4:05).

A dedicated theme park – called Pharoahs theme park – and entertainment complex is also planned, as are attractions based on famous tourist sites across the world such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Agra’s Taj Mahal.

The project is divided into five overlapped phases, with phase 1 expected to begin by the first quarter of 2006. The UK’s Atkinsis advising on the development (MEED 8:4:05).

Dubailandhas now signed up 25 projects with a total investment of about $8,200 million. The company is in negotiations with a number of investors, including the local Target Investment Group, which is planning to launch the Safari Dubai development by the end of the year. Another five projects will also be unveiled by the end of the year. To be completed in four phases by 2020, the project calls for the construction of six major divisions, covering 45 main and 200 sub-projects.