Floating city agreement revised for residential real estate

The Government of the Maldives has revealed that the agreement for The Floating City Project was revised to pave the way for the development of residential real estate.

The floating city is being developed in a lagoon near Aarah, Kaafu Atoll. The lagoon was previously leased under the resort development model. However, the agreement with the contractor Dutch Docklands has been revised to change the development model to an Integrated Tourism Development Model.

The revised agreement was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and contractor Dutch Docklands on June 23. Upon the change to the Integrated Tourism Development Model, the contractor has paid a transfer fee of USD1 million to the state for the lagoon.

The government stated that the previous lease agreement did not allow the development of residential real estate and that the Integrated Tourism Development Model will pave the way for the development of housing units under the project.

Five lagoons have been leased to Dutch Docklands for the project, two of which have been re-leased to another company by the contractor. The government stated that the revised agreement allows the development of one of the lagoons and that no change has been made to the deadline for the completion of the project.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom said the government is working on diversifying the tourism industry by introducing different concepts of tourism development. He said that The Floating City Project has raised the profile of the Maldives in the global media, and that government has received proposals to develop floating guesthouses. He added that the Maldives is open to any investments and concepts that are beneficial to the country.

Also at the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dutch Docklands Paul Van de Camp said the floating city concept is different from the one agreed upon with the earlier administration in 2010 and that he expects the revised project will help solve the housing crisis in the Maldives. He noted that previous discussions involved pricing housing units at USD250,000 but assured that the housing units developed under this project would be affordable. He also said that the floating city will be open for public viewing in August and that a large part of the structure has been completed in Thilafushi and will be assembled at Lagoon-7 near Aarah. He said the biggest challenge is logistical issues pertaining to the transport of 1,400 containers to the Maldives.

The Floating City project is the first of its kind to ever be developed in the world. The city will span a lagoon of 200 hectares, comprising of various establishments such as residences, shops, and hospitals. All of the establishments will be designed and developed to float on shallow water. The project is expected to cost about USD1 billion.

Dutch Docklands stated the floating city will be reachable within 10 minutes by boat from Male’ City and will be large enough to house 20,000 people. It will be designed in a pattern similar to brain coral and consist of 5,000 floating units including houses, restaurants, shops and schools, with canals running in between.