Kerzner International Limited announced yesterday that it has agreed to form a joint venture with Nakheel LLC, an entity owned by the Government of Dubai, to develop Atlantis, The Palm, the first phase of which is expected to be an approximately US$650 million development to include a 1,000-room resort and an extensive water theme park situated on 1.5 miles of beachfront. Atlantis, The Palm will be located at the center of The Palm, Jumeirah, a $1.5 billion land reclamation project in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The agreement provides for additional land available for future development and that would ultimately enable Atlantis, The Palm to grow its room capacity to at least 2,000 rooms.
Spearheaded by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, to diversify the UAE`s economic base, The Palm involves the creation of the two largest man-made islands in the world known as The Palm, Jumeirah and The Palm, Jebel Ali. Each island is being built in the shape of a palm tree and consists of a trunk; a crown with 17 fronds; and a surrounding crescent island, the back of which forms the breakwater. The two palm tree-shaped islands are designed to attract resort as well as residential developments and substantially grow Dubai`s tourism industry, which is among the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. Both islands will be located off the coast of Dubai and will be connected by bridge to the mainland. Atlantis, The Palm will be situated at the center of the crescent of The Palm, Jumeirah and will enjoy spectacular views of this one-of-a kind development.
“We are very excited to be a part of Sheikh Mohammed`s incredible vision for tourism in Dubai,” said Chairman of Kerzner International Sol Kerzner. “Since 1994 when we first entered the Bahamas, we have invested over $1 billion in developing Atlantis, Paradise Island. This resort includes 2,317 rooms, a marina, a wide range of restaurant, retail, and convention facilities and the world`s largest man-made marine habitat. Over the years, we have acquired significant expertise in operating this business. We have also developed the Atlantis brand into one of the most widely recognized brands in the resort industry, and despite a difficult global travel market in 2002, we achieved record results with the property surpassing $500 million in gross revenue. Following these excellent results, we have recently announced a third phase of expansion for the property that will increase the number of rooms to over 3,500. With the success of Atlantis, Paradise Island, our goal has been to extend the Atlantis brand and concept to an ever wider audience. Developing this project in Dubai is this next step. With its year-round warm weather, great beaches, excellent infrastructure and unparalleled airlift, Dubai is the ideal location for our second Atlantis. This will allow us to take the Atlantis product to the European and Asian tourist. We have some unique development ideas for the water theme park that will be the centerpiece of this new project and which will cater to both hotel guests and all visitors to Dubai.”
Butch Kerzner, President of Kerzner International commented, “The development of Dubai`s tourism industry has been quite spectacular. We have operated One&Only Royal Mirage hotel in Dubai since 1999 and recently expanded this resort to 466 rooms. This hotel has been extremely successful and we have been able to witness, first hand, the tremendous growth of Dubai as a tourist destination. We have seen the incredible commitment the Government has to developing the country`s infrastructure, from its airport and airline to such projects as Internet City and Media City and its recently opened 6,500-delegate convention facility. This is the perfect place for us to develop our second Atlantis product. Dubai is where East meets West and, with the backing of Emirates Airline, the potential reach of Atlantis, The Palm is very exciting for us.”
Architectural and conceptual planning is under way for Atlantis, The Palm. Construction is expected to commence before the end of 2004 and it is anticipated that the project will be completed by early 2007. The agreement provides for the initial development of Atlantis, The Palm, which is expected to include:
A 1,000 room luxury hotel, that will have impressive views of The Palm, Jumeirah and will have some unusual and distinctive architectural features as is the case at Atlantis, Paradise Island;
The Dig, an Atlantis-themed “archeological” experience;
An extensive water park, the largest in the region, with capacity for over 5,000 daily visitors that will also include one of the world`s largest marine habitats, a snorkel trail, a swim with the dolphins encounter program, an array of water slides
An additional 25 acres of land that will be reserved for future development, which may include additional rooms and increase the room count of Atlantis, The Palm to 2,000 rooms.
Kerzner and Nakheel have jointly agreed to invest a total of $120 million in the form of equity financing to the project. The balance of the financing will be raised at the project level. As part of this transaction, Kerzner has agreed to enter into a development services agreement and a long-term management agreement with the joint venture company. This transaction is subject to various closing conditions, including obtaining all requisite governmental consents and binding commitments for the necessary financing.
Related Story on Caribbean Weekly:
(10/09/03) Kerzner Breaks Ground on Paradise Island Phase III Expansion