Tuesday, June 24, 2008

They're making more of it, Will

kw: observations, musings, real estate

Will Rogers is famous for saying, "Invest in real estate. Nobody is making any more of it." Of course, the Dutch had been reclaiming land from the North Sea for generations already, but what you see in this image is new land on a new scale.

These are two of three Palm Islands just offshore near Dubai City (Forgive me for linking to a real estate developer's site, there). A third, larger "island" is off the image to the north, and the seemingly amorphous clump if islands near the top of the image is "The World", still under construction.

These images are screen captures from Google Earth, and copyrighted by Google. Other copyright information is included with the images. Click on either one for a 1,000-pixel-wide version.

I just have to mention: Google Earth gives you the elevation of the spot under your cursor, and I found that all this new land is within three meters of mean high tide. These folks obviously don't give much credence to predictions that CO2-induced warming will raise sea levels much in the next 99 years, the typical length of a Dubai land lease. Interestingly, just five years ago the current ruler of Dubai introduced a new law authorizing international "freehold" land purchases. So you can get your lot and villa for more than 99 years!

This is a closeup of the smaller Palm, where the "trunk" splits into "fronds". At the time these satellite images were taken, probably a year ago, things looked about half-finished. I only became aware of these Palm Islands recently, though they've been a-building since 2001. It seems a string of large installations, probably luxury hotels and resorts, occupy the trunk of the palm at lower right. Residences populate the fronds, to top and left. Nowhere do I see the greenery shown in advertising images of this Palm.

Ah, well. For those with a spare half-million or so, a waterfront villa can be your getaway. Dubai is determined to be the "go-to place" for the world, when the world wants to play. I am not advertising for these folks. I just find their ambition fascinating, even as I read book after book warning that everything this close to sea level will be swept away within my lifetime (and I'm over 60 already).

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