Dubailand 2006 construction image

The backer of the ambitious Dubailand complex has moved to revive the project, although ambitious plans for it to feature seven theme parks are likely to be severely scaled back.

ArabianBusiness.com reports that Dubai Properties Group is in the process of restructuring the project, with the aim of recommencing work by the end of 2011. The multibillion dollar development was put on hold in 2008 when the credit crunch struck Dubai's real estate market, causing many to question whether it will go ahead at all.

Instead, as Screamscape recently reported, the developers plan to focus on opening the proposed Universal Studios Dubai and LEGOLAND Dubai theme parks, alongside residential properties. This would be a significant step back from the original plans, with Dubailand originally envisioned as the largest cluster of theme parks in the world.

Speaking at the Arabian Business Forum earlier this week, Khalid Al Malik, the developer's CEO, said of the project: "Dubailand is currently in the process of evaluating new projects. We are renegotiating the terms of the contracts and the other issue is the size of these projects – so we're reviewing the contracts to make it easier for investors."

At 107 square miles, Dubailand was intended to be more than twice the size of Walt Disney World and to contain high profile parks including Warner Bros. Movie World, Six Flags Dubailand, Dreamworks Studios Theme Park, and the Formula One-themed F1-X, in addition to the Universal Studios and LEGOLAND parks. All of these appear to have been dropped, with Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone stating last year that the half-built F1-X park was "not happening".

Despite plans to open several of Dubailand's proposed theme parks in the period between 2010 and 2012, it currently looks likely that none of the proposed parks will open in that timescale - if at all. F1-X was at the most advanced stage of development prior to the property crash, and many of the other parks are still only at the concept stage.

In addition to the theme parks, Dubailand was originally set to host the MotorCity motor sports complex, residential areas and the world's largest shopping center. A new masterplan is due to be unveiled later this year.


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