Eighth wonder of the world...
The Palm Jumeirah is the first of 3 planned, palm-shaped islands being built off the coast of Dubai. The island is being readied for the handover of its first 4000 properties by the end of 2006. It is property pioneer Nakheel's showpiece development and will be their first major project completed (partially completed, that is, with sections due to be rolled out in phases over the next two years).
Question: Where are the palms--as in trees?
Ok, the question is a bit facetious. Of course, thousands of palms and other forms of vegetation can be planted or transplanted onto the island once it gets closer to completion. But photos of the Jumeirah Palm, with nearly complete or partially built-up plots, reveal that there really won't be much space for trees or greenery, of any kind.
The island is supposed to be the crème de la crème of residential properties, with a much touted resort ambience. On the face of it, however, it appears little different from existing inland developments which feature rows of tightly packed villas interspersed or separated from one-another by artificial ponds, lakes and other waterways. Surely the Palm is supposed to be much more than that.
On a less critical note, the island is certainly a masterpiece of engineering. Aerial views reveal a perfect palm-shaped formation with the green waters of the Gulf surrounding its many fronds. It will certainly be beautiful, with attractive landscaping and impressive properties to match, once construction of its thousands of properties is complete. It will feature a 10-lane highway as its main thoroughfare, several bridges, a tunnel and a monorail. Despite, its shortcomings, just the fact that it is soon to become reality is something to laud.
Daring to Dream
I have heard the words of critics, both the ringside spectator type and the informed insider. "Nakheel has grand ideas but knows very little about detail...," they suggest--wherein, famously, lies the devil. But grand visions are what dreams are made of, and "...it is from he that dreams, that great things spill forth." That is the thought I would rather convey to the naysayer.
To Nakheel's credit they have dared and continue to dare to dream. What they lack in expertise, they seem to make up for in resolve. That, I say, is the key to success, even more so than having technical expertise or other prowess.
As an illustration, take the US space program. In its early days the dreams were grand, but the experience little and so too the expertise. Yet, when the country's leadership resolved to land a man on the moon in as little as 10 years, all obstacles were eventually overcome. From the 1970's onward, however, that resolve disintegrated. Though the experience and the expertise remained, and even grew, the ability to excel seemed to have faded with the dream.
How Good is Big?
Nakheel fares well in other comparisons as well. I would argue, for example, that one may take heart that Nakheel is not Damac*. Nakheel is sometimes regarded as the UAE's largest property developer (it is a semi-governmental entity). In compasion, Damac is the self-acclaimed largest private property developer. While Nakheel has a dozen or so spectacular developments in progress or in the planning stages, all within the UAE, Damac has some four dozen or so projects, largely in the UAE but also spread out across the Middle East and as far a field as China.
Damac's fortunes, however, appear to rest on a house of cards. With over 50 projects proposed, less than a handful are underway, and only one, thusfar, completed (to disappointing results). There is no warranted claim to greatness in this. Nakheel, on the other hand, despite a spectacular stumble or two has the bird in hand with its first Palm project--even if yet to be completed. Such is the grandeur of the Jumeirah Palm Island. It is not only a wonder for Dubai, but also an ace in the hole for its builder.
*As an aside, I refer to Damac. Who am I, I will admit, to predict where their fortunes lie? But every indication is that there are disgruntled customers and a genuine skepticism as to their ability to deliver on such a multitude of projects without any established record.
Open a printable copy, in a new window.
What’s Wrong With These Beautiful Pictures?—a word on failed ambitions, ala Nakheel.
Palm Jumeirah Ready by Year End, Gulf News update on Palm progress.
Technorati Tags: Nakheel, Jumeirah Palm, Damac, USA moon mission, daring to dream