We toured The Pearl Sunday, a $16 billion investment to create the Stepford of Doha.
Doha is learning from the construction mistakes of Dubai as it tries to create its own island retreat that will house more than 42,000 people in a man-made cove. Qatar has a rockier, solid foundation underneath its shores than the United Arab Emirates, according to Pearl Investor Advisor Ahmad Masri. This allows them to avoid the construction woes experienced by Dubai.
It reminded me of Seahaven Island, the fictional town from the Truman Show, where the protagonist Jim Carrey lives an idyllic and insulated life until he realizes it is entirely manufactured. Of course The Pearl is not that extreme, but the $2 million model showed residents never have to leave the island thanks to grocery, luxury clothing, jewelry and other stores. There’s even a mosque in the works, although the island’s marketing strategy is geared toward Westerners. Foreigners are granted five-year visas if they purchase a unit.
Masri said all phases should be finished (including, shockingly, a nude beach) by 2013. All units have been sold or rented, so you’ll have to go through a private owner if you want your own piece of paradise.
Update 6/19: A spokeswoman for United Development Company tells me that there will be no nude beach, despite what our group was told. We were also given misinformation about how many units have been sold, which is in flux. My apologies for any confusion to our readers.