8 Dubai mega projects we can't wait to find out more about
New and newly resumed developments we’re already excited for…
Dubai is home to a number of upcoming mega projects further proving that it is one of the most innovative and fast-developing cities in the world.
From whole island developments to master plans for a redevelopment of the city’s coastline, here are 8 Dubai mega projects we can’t wait to see more from.
Palm Jebel Ali
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai unveiled the masterplan of the Palm Jebel Ali on May 31, 2023, which will see the destination transformed with hotels, beaches, residential and leisure attractions. The new mega project will be twice the size of the original, and is spread over some 13.4 square kilometres. Palm Jebel Ali will be seven connected islands, and be home to no less than 80 new hotels and resorts will open on Palm Jebel Ali. Although we don’t know much more than that yet, Sheikh Mohammed Tweeted that the mega project would feature “a wide choice of entertainment and leisure facilities.” The original plans featured six marinas, a water theme park, and even a ‘Sea Village’, where homes would be built over the water. So, we can’t wait to see what else gets announced.
Al Maktoum International Airport expansion
Plans have been announced to continue the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC) in Dubai South, which will see it become the world’s largest airport. It currently has a five to seven million passenger capacity but upon completion, it will serve more than 260 million passengers. Its completion date is set to 2050, but plans are in place for Phase 1 to be complete by 2030 where it will support an annual capacity of 130 million. Phase 1 will include the completion of two more runways, Concourse 1 and the West Terminal building. The airport will also include a plethora of retail, food and beverage, relaxation and entertainment facilities.
One of the latest Dubai mega projects to be announced is Dubai Reefs – one of the newest projects announced by URB – the same masterminds behind The Loop Dubai and Agri Hub Dubai. Essentially, it will be the first floating sustainable city of its kind offering a mix of educational, research, residential, retail, hospitality, entertainment and community facilities. Dubai Reef’s main goal is to reinvent the way we plan our cities and to highlight the importance of living in harmony with the ocean. The organization seeks to build the most diverse artificial reef which will cover 200 square kilometres. It will also create a home to more than one billion corals and 100 million mangrove trees. The institute will also seek to lead global ocean cleanup initiatives such as cleaning up the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris currently in our oceans. Additionally, several educational programs will also take place here to help spread knowledge to visitors and the institute will attract oceanographers, climate scientists, ocean farmers, and marine educators for its unique facilities and will also aim to be responsible for the next generation of marine biologists.
Formerly known as Deira Islands, in August 2022 master developer Nahkeel revealed that this project off the coast of Deira will now be known as Dubai Islands. There are huge plans to transform the five-island development into a space that will redefine the concept of waterfront living. Each island will offer up something unique from innovative living experiences to cultural hubs, recreational sports beaches and beach clubs. The islands will be home to over 80 resorts and hotels. According to Nakheel, this includes ‘luxury and wellness resorts, boutique, family and eco-conscious hotels’ – all of which will help support Dubai’s tourism and hospitality drive. It will also include 20 kilometres of beaches including a Blue Flag-certified beach – a recognised award given to beaches for following a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria.
The World Islands
The World Islands was another ultra-ambitious island project that was launched in 2008. After more than a decade of being dormant, there’s now lots of movement at this offshore archipelago, with megaprojects popping up across the islands. Found a 15-minute boat ride from Dubai, you can already check in to Thai-born luxury hotel brand Anantara’s dreamy resort here, which opened on the most southern section of the World Islands in December 2021. The island resort features rustic-luxe villas with private pools, unique experiences like bubble dining and a floating hamacland, and a lagoon-sized swimming pool.
Elsewhere, the jaw-dropping Heart of Europe archipelago of six islands is coming along nicely, with the first of some 15 hotels, Cote D’Azur Monaco, now welcoming guests. On this same island, you’ll also find the raining street, the biggest swimming pool in the Middle East, and an additional selection of soon-to-open hotels, all designed to bring European charm to Dubai. In 2025, joining their ranks will be Zuha Island, from the creators of Abu Dhabi’s amazing Zaya resort. The private island will be home to a collection of just 30, 6-bedroom residential villas, plus a boutique retreat complete with 70 villas with private pools, a beach club and a serene spa and healing centre.
The Island by Wasl
It’s been a while since we’ve heard much about The Island by Wasl, a megaproject off the shores of Dubai close to Burj Al Arab. But a little internet sleuthing reveals that this project is still under way. A development by Al Wasl, this Umm Suqeuim development was first announced in 2017, and at the time plans were announced for the 3.5 million square metre development to become an MGM-operated hotel and entertainment district. According to planning and management company Mirage Global’s website, the island will be home to three resorts all made famous in Las Vegas: Bellagio, MGM and Aria; a beach club, an entertainment venue, a lagoon, plus an array of shops and restaurants. While we don’t know when the island will open, in an August 2022 earnings call, MGM Resorts CEO and president Bill Hornbuckle confirmed that the project has broken ground and that work continues on the development. At the time, he confirmed that it would be a non-gaming integrated resort, but that he was watching the developments around gaming in the region ‘with great interest’.
This Dubai mega project is by URB – the same team behind Dubai Reefs. By 2040, Dubai is going to be home to a 93km city-wide climate-controlled urban highway called The Loop, which will connect residents across the city. This means that year-round, you’ll be able to walk and cycle around Dubai. Goodbye summer sweat. That’s not all – this project will feature sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, urban agriculture, parks and amenities for surrounding residents, committing to being a sustainable and zero emissions transport system. The Loop is set to provide a primary mode of transport for over 80 per cent of the city’s inhabitants, as well as being a place that brings together communities and provides leisure and wellness facilities. This multi-functional utopia will include luscious parks and vertical farming projects that contribute to maintaining food security in surrounding areas. Sounds dreamy. Sustainability is at the heart of this project, with the 93km stretch of urban highway utilising state-of-the-art environmentally friendly technology to foster its upkeep. This includes 100 per cent renewable kinetic energy flooring as well as 100 per cent recycled water to irrigate its parks and vertical farms. The mastermind behind this project is URB, a global leader in developing high-tech sustainable cities.
Dubai Urban Tech District
Another green, futuristic development by URB, Dubai Urban Tech District will be developed on the banks of the creek in Al Jaddaf. Described by URB as a ‘living laboratory,’ this mini-city-within-a-city will be at the forefront of green urban tech and innovation. Spread over a 140,000 square metre space, it will create 4,000 jobs in its field, and come complete with facilities for conferences, training, research, seminars and business incubation. Additional facilities will include shared offices and restaurants. As part of the commitment to a greener future, the building will offset all its embodied carbon emissions from construction and operation.