>> One of Dubai's most ambitious and extravagant real estate projects ever has lain largely derelict since the 2008 financial crisis hit. But one developer thinks it's primed for a comeback. Welcome to the so-called Heart of Europe near Dubai. Six islands, four kilometers off the coast with themes ranging from Sweden to underwater floating accommodation.
Part of what's known asThe World, 300 man-made islands shaped like a map of the globe.>> In every other country a project takes 10, 15 years to start moving. In Dubai we are little spoiled, every project is announced and starts immediately and you see a completion very soon.
Our islands take little longer, but what we deliver will be unbeatable, we hope so, in quality and in experience.>> For Kleindienst that includes climate controlled outdoor streets where it will snow and rain under the scorching desert sun. By 2020 the plan is to have 4,000 units ready and available for use, we're told of those 1,000 have already been sold.
But this project poses one distinct question. How much have luxury travel and property markets changed in the ten years since the financial crash?>> It's an ambitious time line. The aim is to lure the wealthy looking for a second home, as well as a luxury travel destination. But the development is also banking on a boom from expo 2020, a world fair the UAE hopes will attract 25 million visitors.
>> In hospitality there's always the what about expo of 2020. And any spike that comes over, say 2019, 20 and the big thing of 21 till the expo is there, we feel that's sort of artifical in the sense it will be as a result of the event. How that plays out right after, I don't think anyone has that crystal ball at the moment.
To many, the original project stood as a monument to excess. Kleindienst are betting on this being a whole new world.