Dubai can rewrite history with Palm Jebel Ali

16 June 2023

Commentary
Colin Foreman
Editor

The decision to restart the development of Palm Jebel Ali will boost the outlook for projects in Dubai. At the same time, it is a reminder that no matter how buoyant Dubai’s property may seem, good things can come to an end.  

The Palm Jebel Ali was originally launched shortly after the Palm Jumeirah in the early 2000s.

After Dubai had extended southwards with Jebel Ali Port and Dubai Marina, the Palm Jebel Ali and Dubai Waterfront – planned for the land onshore – promised to create a new development cluster down towards the Abu Dhabi border.

Although reclamation work on the island was largely completed and some infrastructure work started, the project never gained real traction because it was put on hold in 2009 as Dubai struggled with the fallout of the global financial crisis and the debt problems that engulfed government-related entities, including the developer of the artificial island – Nakheel.  

The move to halt the island’s development would have been unthinkable just six months earlier as the UAE charged ahead with ambitious projects catapulted by a white-hot property market.

Dubai finds itself in a similar position in 2023. With the Palm Jumeirah and other masterplanned schemes now reaching full development, developers in Dubai need to open up new land areas for development. The south not only has land, but it is also strategically located close to Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone, Al-Maktoum International airport and their surrounding employment centres.

Buyers also want new opportunities. Like in 2008, the property market is in rude health. According to CBRE’s Dubai Residential Market Snapshot for June, residential prices continue to increase as people buy property.

Buoyed by the fundamentals, Dubai has the opportunity to rewrite history with the Palm Jebel Ali. For that to happen, it will need to ensure its development is not derailed again.

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Colin Foreman
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