Dubai is getting a massive addition in the form of a temperature-controlled pedestrian city, named the "Mall of the World," government officials recently announced. One of the big goals of the massive project is to keep tourism alive during blistering summer heat.
According to a press release from the developer, Dubai Holding, the vast real estate project is expected to occupy 48 million square feet.
The Mall of the World will entail 100 hotels and 20,000 hotel rooms, as well as the world's largest indoor family theme park that is covered by a glass dome which can be opened in the winter. Connected to the theme park is a shopping mall of 8 million square feet, designed in the form of an extended retail street network.
"Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism," United Arab Emirate Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said in the release.
"Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long. This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months," Sheik Mohammed said.
The project also features a wellness district catered to medical professionals and a cultural celebration district comprising theaters modeled after New York's Broadway and other famed cultural landmarks. After the project is completed, it's expected to bring around 180 million visitors annually.
The release states that tourists will be able to stay in the city for as long as a week without having to leave or use a car.
"The 7 kilometer (4.35 mile) long promenades connecting all facilities will be covered during the summer and open during the winter, ensuring pleasant temperatures throughout the year," according to the company.
From June until September, average highs in Dubai are right around 100 F, said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Leister.
"Temperatures can soar between 115 and 120 F during the hottest days of the year," Leister said.
Those temperatures are a significant contrast to the winter, when normal high temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, with lows in the 50s and 60s.
Dust storms are also a problem for Dubai, as is the case for much of the Middle East, Leister said.
"Any thunderstorms in the region can spark these dust storms," he said. "Strong northerly winds that occur each spring can also produce dust storms."
A completion date for the project, as well as a cost, has not been revealed.