Dubai’s The World islands could be connected to the mainland via a cable car, with one developer claiming it is the most efficient transport option and has initial support from the government.
A study carried out by Austrian company Doppelmayer Cable Car found a line linking The Heart of Europe – a collection of six islands – to either Jumeirah Beach or Umm Sequim was the most feasible transport option to reach the manmade islands, about 4 kilometres off the coast.
“It would be cheaper than building a floating bridge, it would be very efficient, it would even be a tourist attraction,” Josef Kleindienst, CEO of Kleindienst Group, the developer behind The Heart of Europe, told Arabian Business.
“We have discussed it on a government level already; we saw support.
“We’ve calculated a cable car to The Heart of Europe versus other transport and the cable car would be the most economical way to transport people and even part of the goods. But it would go against our vision to create a holiday place close to Dubai but outside of Dubai.”
Kleindienst said a steering committee was yet to decide whether the developer would go ahead with the idea, but although it was economical he personally would prefer to keep the islands disconnected from the mainland.
“I think a certain distance and a certain hurdle to reach The Heart of Europe is necessary to understand it as a holiday place where you can experience European hospitality, European culture, European food and beverage, but close to Dubai,” he said.
Kleindienst Group has signed contracts with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to provide ferries, water taxis and water boats to the islands, and an agreement with a seaplane operator to provide air access.
Helicopters and luxury yachts also will be available.
However, Kleindienst said if another island developer chose to build a cable car, he would reconsider.
“If a cable car [was built] then we’d most probably need to connect [to the mainland],” he said.
Kleindienst Group is the first owner of an island at The World to begin construction of a permanent building.
A beach club has opened on the island called Lebanon but is believed to be a temporary attraction.
The 300 manmade islands that make up The World were built by Dubai developer Nakheel at the height of the emirate’s real estate boom but there has been almost no work on the islands since the economic crisis in 2008-09, when property values in Dubai plummeted as much as 60 percent.
Last year, chairman of UAE master developer Emaar, Mohamad Alabbar, suggested building a floating bridge from Dubai to at least one of The World islands to help rescue the troubled project.
“Somebody has to put it back to life,” he told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.
“I would probably build a bridge straight into it now – a floating bridge. You need a bridge to at least one of the islands and from there people can go to all the different islands. You need to bring life to it.”
Nakheel CEO Sanjay Manchanda then invited Alabbar to discuss the idea: “If he has a proposal of building a bridge, probably he should come and we will see how we can do it”.
However, the idea did not progress.
In December, Arabian Business revealed Nakheel was in advanced talks to build a road link from Jumeirah in a bid to help boost sales prices for several dozen unsold islands and as a catalyst for existing owners to start construction work.