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Developers revise initial design of The World projects
Sean Davidson / 19 October 2009

Nakheel plans to focus on supporting purchasers of The World as the buyers update their development strategies and push ahead with construction.

Marwan Al Qamzi, Group Managing Director, Projects, said: "We are now focusing on supporting purchasers as they update their development strategies and move forward with their projects."

Safi Qurashi, who bought the "Great Britain" island for $58 million (Dh212.8m) in March last year said his company, Premier Real Estate Bureau, will soon announce details of its project and construction.

"We are 95 per cent done on preparation. It's just the last bit of design change that has to get approved by the local authority so that every tiny detail is in place when we start. It is a matter of days and weeks before the announcement of what we are doing. We will only make the announcement once we start the work," he said.

Commenting on the reason for the design change, Qurashi said: "You have to adapt. We are going through a period where things need to be looked at with a bit more detail. We change with the times." He said the first part of his project would be completed within six months of construction starting, allowing people to "utilise" the land some time next year.

"The build time for such a project is much shorter but the preparation time is quite significant. It has taken 12 to 15 months to complete the different processes; design, development, contractor and transportation logistics.

The build time on the other hand will be quick with no stoppages," he said.

Mark Scott, CEO, Select Property, said his company would begin construction on Aquitainia – a fusion of "France" and "Spain" islands – by the second quarter of 2010. "With Nakheel's continuous support we are starting construction by the second quarter.

"We are in talks with a couple of contractors and we expect to be on site by Q1 or Q2 next year. We will be finalising our contractor by the end of the year," he said.

Acknowledging that the project's construction programme was nearly a year behind the original, Scott said the delay was understandable given the circumstances and that savings had been passed on to customers.

"The delay wasn't that bad. Some work on The World did slow but it is now gaining pace. I think that there are 20 other islands starting construction next year so it's very exciting.

"We are excited that the people left developing on The World will be developers and not speculators and that is good for everyone."

Select Property anticipate their build programme to take up to four years and have estimated construction completion by the end 2013.

"Our plan is to build out the development and then hand it over. It is difficult to phase such a project. An island needs to be constructed in its entirety," he said.

Sales agents for Pangkor Laut project on Khazakstan island, Stars Dome Realty, said they would appoint the main contractor by the end of November and expects to handover its entire project by the end of 2012.

The company's Chief Executive, Sofia Zigangirova, said: "We are now in the final stage of our design because infrastructure took a little longer than we expected. This was because of the permanent independent solutions you have to implement for water and electricity. We are expecting to start reshaping work within two to three months and our main contractor will be appointed at the end of November."

Soil investigation on the island has been completed and the company estimates reshaping of their 10 hectare land mass to take up to four months following which construction will begin.

Zigangirova said other developers would be encouraged to commence work on their islands after seeing all the construction activity.

Source: Emirates Business 24/7

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