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City of Arabia

Wednesday 16 January 2019 (UAE)   

City of Arabia (COA), Dubailand, Dubai

Note that the City of Arabia development has been suspended or delayed since the financial crisis which started in 2008. Nothing is open or completed as of the beginning of 2014 despite the news headline in 2009 saying "City of Arabia Fast Taking Shape". Updated timeline to be added, if available. Other updates to be added:

  • IMG Worlds of Adventure (IMGWOA) - theme park in COA, Restless Planet renamed? Redesigned? Four sections - MARVEL, Lost Valley - Dinosaur Adventure, Cartoon Network, IMG Boulevard. Opening date in 2014 according to 26 Sep 2013 press release. IMG Adventure World, World of Adventures?

City of Arabia, Dubailand, Dubai. A mega-project development divided into 4 main areas - Elite Towers residential and commerical buildings, Mall of Arabia shopping mall, Restless Planet dinosaur theme park, Wadi Walk retail area with apartments, restaurants, shops, and cafes along a canal. It has come in for criticism due to lengthy construction delays and disappointed investors finding it difficult to obtain information or refunds for apartments which were not built according to schedule.

  • *Total project value $5 billion (AED 18.4bn) - 2009 figures. Figure of $20 billion seen in 2013 but original source not found.
  • Developer and owner is Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group. Executive Director of group is S M Sayed Khalil.
  • Location is next to the Dubai Global Village area along Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (311 Rd, previously Emirates Rd).

Projects within the development include:

  • Elite Towers - 34 towers and skyscapers with residential apartments and commercial offices.
  • Mall of Arabia - shopping mall, largest in the world at the time it was planned, might not be by the time it's built.
  • Monorail - internal for City of Arabia with link to the Dubai Metro.
  • Restless Planet - dinosaur theme park connected to the Mall of Arabia with natural history museum and planetarium.
  • Wadi Tower - one of the skyscrapers in the Elite Towers development.
  • Wadi Walk - Venice-themed area with canals and boats, waterfront apartments, restaurants, cafes, shops.

City of Arabia areas and projects

Elite Towers
  • *Three towers - Wadi Tower (main contractor Simplex Infrastructure), and ???
  • *Or 34 towers according to KT report 27 Mar 2009.
  • *Piling close to completion? When?
Mall of Arabia
  • Planned as the largest shopping mall in the region when (if?) it opens with 10 million sq ft of gross leasable area (GLA) and 1,400 retail outlets. Which is similar to the GLA and number of shops for The Dubai Mall.
Restless Planet theme park
  • Dinosaur theme park, earth science museum, and planetarium, "modelled on Disneyland" (27 Mar 2009 comment in KT by COA director). Project value $300 million.
  • Linked to the Mall of Arabia shopping mall.
  • Opening date 2001 Q1 (typo? Q1 2011?).
  • 110 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, built and supplied by Kokoro Dinosaurs of Japan (or Kokoro Company Ltd), 70 already supplied?
  • Design and production by Jack Rouse Associates, in association with RH Architects (?), London Natural History Museum, Dr Jack Horner (Jurassic Park).
  • Theme park rides will "... plunge visitors into the world of giant sauropods and terrifying raptors to special zones exploring the prehistoric past and links to the latest discoveries ..."
Wadi Walk
  • A Venice style retail and shopping area with a canal, and waterfront apartment buildings.
  • Construction work started April 2009. Main contractor Dhabi Contracting.
  • 1600 Mediterranean apartments, 1000 restaurants and shops in 6 different retail zones.
  • 8 km long canal, water taxis, connects to Mall of Arabia.

City of Arabia timeline and history

  • 2014 sometime - IMG theme park due to open, exact date not given - 26 Sep 2013 press release.
  • Beginning 2014 - IMG Worlds of Adventure theme park due to open (May 2013 reports, not confirmed).
  • End 2010 - opening date of some phases of the City of Arabia project (comment by IMG director 29 Mar 2009, KT).
  • 2010 - "The Mall of Arabia will be ready and open by 2010" - IMG director comment 14 Mar 2009. Update Jan 2014, Mall of Arabia still not open.
  • Mar 2009 - Mall of Arabia and Wadi Walk infrastructure close to completion according to KT report 29 Mar 2009.
  • 2003 - City of Arabia project first announced?

Information updates, press releases, reports, by date

03 September 2009 AB
  • Project value $5 billion
  • City of Arabia area 20 million sq feet
  • Accommodation for 35,000 residents
  • Phased opening on schedule to start from end 2010
  • Four key components are: Elite Towers, Mall of Arabia (largest shopping mall), Restless Planet (theme park with 100+ animatronic dinosaurs), Wadi Walk.
  • Homes 80% sold, GLA 89% committed. Remainder being held back until closer to opening date.
  • Other facilities will include internal monorail.
  • AB report sourced from Cityscape Dubai preview publication interview with Alex Vacha, Deputy Director for Projects at City of Arabia.
  • Reader comments along the lines of you must be joking Mr Vacha.
14 April 2009 AB

"City of Arabia constuction costs fall by 30%"

  • $5 billion City of Arabia
  • Developer Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group
  • Phase I ready by end of 2010
  • 95% of service infrastructure already complete
  • Two power substations - first online April 2009, second in June 2009.
27 March 2009 - KT

Khaleej Times headline "$5 billion City of Arabia Fast Taking Shape", article and interview with S M Sayed Khalil, Executive Director of COA or the developer.

  • Total project value $5 billion (AED 18.4 billion).
  • Construction work is "moving ahead". Mall of Arabia and Wadi Walk infrastructure is almost complete, and other parts are progressing according to schedule ... allegedly.
  • "City of Arabia's owners Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group say that all elements within the project, including the Mall of Arabia, are on track and moving forward, with the global financial crisis having little impact on construction works."
  • Why has the projects been delayed [sic]? Is it due to the current credit crunch? A: The delays are due to the size and scale of building infrastructure for a totally inclusive city rather than the current economic climate.
  • What is the current status of construction? A: The project is progressing well with ongoing pile cap works at 10 of the 44 zones. ... All the four elements, Wadi Walk, Elite Towers, Mall of Arabia and Restless Planet, are proceeding as usual.
  • How much of construction is complete on the first two projects - Mall of Arabia and Wadi Walk? A: The entire infrastructure of the development is very near completion, which includes the main foundations, sewerage, drainage, irrigation and underground works.
14 Mar 2009 - CW

Construction Week story "What's really happening at Dubailand?" by SM Syed Khalil, executive director of the Ilyas Mustafa Galadari group.

  • What is your opinion about the market downturn? A: I think there is a lot of negative publicity going around. Those projects that have already started have not been stopped; maybe there will be some kind of delay due to the economic situation, which has affected everyone, but no brakes are going to be put on Dubai's construction market, that's for sure.
  • Has the City of Arabia project been affected by the slowdown? A: We are going according to plan. The Mall of Arabia will be ready and open by 2010.


  • 27 Mar 2009 - $5 billion City of Arabia Fast Taking Shape, Khaleej Times.
  • 14 Mar 2009 - What's really happening at Dubailand? Construction Week, article by SM Syed Khalil, IMG Group.
Restless Planet theme park (date, source unknown)
  • Jack Rouse Associates is currently managing the overall design and production of Restless Planet, including development and oversight of all attractions and media. It is being linked with the Mall of Arabia, which is currently the largest mall under construction in the world. Working with London's Natural History Museum, world-renown paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner of "Jurassic Park" fame, rh Architects, and other experts, the team is developing a synergy of architecture and experiences that take guests on "the world's ultimate theme ride back into the mists of time," enabling them to explore Earth as it was millions of years ago. From rides that plunge visitors into the world of giant sauropods and terrifying raptors to special zones exploring the prehistoric past and links to the latest discoveries, Restless Planet will combine breathtaking theme park experiences, enhanced by dramatic lighting and audiovisual effects, with cutting-edge educational content, all featuring more than 100 moving, roaring life-size animatronic dinosaurs created by Kokoro Company, Ltd. of Japan.


  • Parent category - Dubai mega projects, Dubai communities, Dubailand, cities in UAE.
  • Child pages - COA projects - Elite Towers, Mall of Arabia, Restless Planet, Wadi Walk.
  • Related pages - museums in Dubai, theme parks in Dubai, shopping malls in Dubai.


  • COA construction update 2013 - not provided?
  • COA construction update 2012 - removed?
  • City of Arabia jobs - see COA website careers section.
  • City of Arabia villas and villa complexes?
Last update Wednesday 29-Jan-2014
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.cityofarabiame.com - official COA website
  • www.cityofarabia.ae - another COA website with similar information as the official one, not clear if it is an unofficial site or an old one - is not up-to-date. No obvious indications that it is fake or scam apart from having old information.


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