Christie’s International Real Estate, the company formed in 1995 by one of the world’s oldest art auction house Christie’s, has joined hands with Dutch Docklands of the Netherlands to develop luxury floating private islands in the Maldives.
The ‘Amillarah Private Islands’, by Dutch Docklands and New York based Christie’s International Real Estate, are unique tailor-made floating residences designed by famed Dutch architect Koen Olthuis, who was named one of the most influential people by Time Magazine.
Amillarah in Dhivehi, the language of the Maldives means “own island” and are completely self-sustainable floating islands. The famed oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society is engaged with the project to ensure the homes are free from environmental impact, safe from rising sea levels, and to create a new underwater habitat for sea life. The project is to feature 10 exclusive villas on portable islands, complete with a private beach, a pool and a jetty to moor yachts.
Dutch Docklands, that gained global media attention in 2011 for plans to build an 18-hole floating golf-course in the Maldives, was awarded five lagoons in Kaafu Atoll, all within 25 minutes of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (Malé airport) as part of a joint venture with the Maldivian government in 2011. The five-lagoon plan also includes 185 overwater luxury villas and a convention center.
A Dutch Docklands’ official said the designs for the floating islands are yet to be approved by the tourism ministry. However, the company hopes to begin construction by the end of the year.
The luxury islands will be leased said the official. The Maldivian constitution was recently amended to allow foreigners to own land for the first time, but a US$1billion investment is required.
Dutch Docklands has previously said the five-lagoon project will cost US$500million. The Maldivian government holds five percent in the joint venture.
Dan Conn, the CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate said: “Buyers are able to customize the size, shape and style of their residence, within the broadest range of locations, beginning with this first opportunity in the Maldives.”
“Each of these homes is an eco-friendly work of art that can be lived in, allowing consumers to not only create, but enjoy whatever kind of paradise they desire,” added Rick Moeser, Senior Vice President, Christie’s International Real Estate.
“We have not only created a new luxury global brand with ‘Amillarah Private Islands’ but also a new industry of private island development to cater to our most discerning clients,” said Paul van de Camp, CEO of Dutch Docklands, according to a press release.
Dutch Docklands said the project will be the biggest floating development in the world “diversifying Maldivian fame and turning rising seas into prime real estate.”
The five lagoons consist of 800 hectares of water. The environmental impact assessments for Dutch Docklands’ first project, the Ocean Flower, is complete and villas will be done within one and a half years. They cost upwards of US$1.5million.
Amillarah properties will be launched in Dubai and Miami next, Christie’s has said.