Porto Dubai Overview
Porto Dubai was to have been a luxury residential community on the Umm Suqeim coast adjacent to Umm Suqeim Fishing Harbour, a short distance form the Burj Al Arab Hotel.
The project was due to be completed in 2010 but owing to the developer's financial troubles, largely due to the 2008 global financial crisis, the project was put on hold in 2009 soon after construction started. It has now been abandoned in favour of a new project announced on 22 March 2017, namely Jumeirah Beach MGM Resort. Click on the link to discover more.
Porto Dubai Map
Porto Dubai History
The Porto Dubai development was launched in March 2007 by Dubai-based Zabeel Investments, the same company that delivered the Tiara Residences on the Palm Jumeirah.
The development was to have covered an area of 4.5 million square feet, the majority of which would have been built on a circular shaped peninsular created from land reclaimed from the sea. The land was to be terraced to create a circular pyramid shape of four platforms, each four metres higher than the other, ensuring that all villas had unobstructed sea views. Residents on the south side would be able to enjoy close-up views of Burj Al Arab which lies a short distance along the coast.
Beach Access Controversy
The project was not welcomed by people living in the area who feared that the free Umm Suqeim beach would be closed to the public. When construction of a 1km fence to close off the beach began, a group of local residents launched a 'Save Jumeirah Beach' campaign. Residents living opposite the site were particularly irate as there had been no notification of the project and many had their expensive sea views blocked.
The campaign proved effective and less than a fortnight later the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, stepped in and ordered the fence to be taken down and the beach re-opened.
Nonetheless, enabling work began at the end of 2007 with The Executive Chairman of Zabeel Investments, Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi, announcing that the construction work would have no impact on public beaches in the area.
However, construction work came to a halt in 2009 and the project was put on hold when the developer began to experience financial difficulties. Zabeel Investments was badly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008 and effectively defaulted on its bank debt. In 2011 the company began talks with its creditors, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Commercial Bank International, Emirates NBD, Union National Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai and HSBC to discuss restructuring $1.63 billion worth of debt. These talks progressed slowly owing to Zabeel's lack of saleable assets, but by October 2012 the company managed to reach an agreement for a restructuring of $956 million worth of bank debt. The management of Zabeel Investments was taken over by state-owned Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC) but the project remained in limbo.
Porto Dubai Masterplan
The project's original design consisted of 44 high-end luxury villas, two restaurants, a spa and a health club. The villas were to be arranged on concentric circular steps, each ring of villas being four metres above the one in front so that that all residents would have panoramic sea views.
In 2009 Dutch architect Dror put forward alternative designs based on a clock face theme with straight lines of trees separating sleek modern-style villas. Whether or not that design was accepted we do not know, but rumour had it that the project was undergoing yet another redesign.
Porto Dubai Construction Updates
Land Reclamation Work
The land reclamation work for Porto Dubai was undertaken by the Netherlands-based Royal Boskalis Westminster who began dredging around 3 million cubic metres of seabed. The work was carried out in November and December 2008 and successfully completed by the end of the year.
Main Construction Work
The main construction contract was awarded to Arabtec and basic infrastructure and basement excavations for villas began at the end of 2008. By mid 2009 however all construction work was put on hold, since when the project has not been touched.
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