A top executive at Dubailand has dismissed speculation the 235 billion-dirham ($63 billion) project cannot meet its 2010 deadline, saying the mega development is on “completely on track”.
Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, Mohammed Al-Habbai, senior vice president at Dubailand, told ArabianBusiness.com rumours the project would not be finished in time were a misunderstanding.
““We are very confident… we are right on schedule in most of the project and we will surprise the people who say we are not on target,” he said. Al-Habbai said the huge scale of Dubailand – the smallest project is 2.5 million square feet – meant that people looked at the site and mistook the open space as a lack of progress.
The project, billed as the world’s largest leisure and entertainment destination, will host a total of 2.5 million residents and employ 250,000 people once complete.
Al-Habbai said his biggest challenge would be the recruitment of employees, but with over 50% of people in the region below 23 years old, he believed working in the high-profile Dubailand companies would be attractive.
The project has not been heavily impacted by rising costs in construction and labour, he said.
“Increases in the cost of infrastructure have affected everybody. But in our business model we keep a buffer to avoid any price increase. Also, when I sign a contract, I lock in all my material costs to be on the safe side,” he said.
Dubailand, a member of Tatweer, hosts 24 mega projects, including Dubai Sports City, the City of Arabia, and Falcon City within its three billion-square foot plot. The entire project is as big as Singapore, Al-Habbai said.
The developer also announced the launch of $248 million Legoland on Tuesday, the first to be built outside Europe and the US. Marvel, Universal Studios and Dreamworks have all signed up to develop theme parks in Dubailand