The World is a collection of 300 islands located 4 km of the coast of Dubai. The project was launched in 2004 but stalled after the real estate crash of 2008 - 09.
Investors and developers who bought islands from Nakheel have the option of developing either private or commercial developments. Many developers planned exciting projects on a conceptual basis but were unable to commence work due to Nakheel not having delivered the basic infrastructure.
After the crash, many owners of the islands defaulted on payments to Nakheel or worked out agreements to defer payments or liquidiate their asset.
Since the real estate market's revival in 2012, interest from investors / developers has risen but one question continues to hold back the project and that is what is the best way to make the World Islands more accessible? Earlier proposals had called for the islands to only be accessible by water taxis or helicopters. However, this limits investor interest and ensures land prices remain stagnant due to lack of accessibility. Various proposals are under-discussion as is apparent from Nakheel press-releases and other news reports. One option exists to connect the islands to the main land by a series of road networks. The other option might be to extend the size of the island closest to the main-land (Antartica), and turn it into a large car park from which the rest of the islands can be accessed via water taxis/private charters.
Feb 2012: the first island of the World islands was completed - called the Royal Island Beach Club. This development has eight private chalets, restaurants, a nightclub, swimming pool and two beachfront areas. The developer of the project wants to rent out the island for corporate getaways.
Jan 20th, 2014: construction work commenced on the Heart of Europe project - a collection of six islands that are being developed as a holiday resort.