U.S. construction and gambling kingpin Donald Trump is joining forces with top Emirates developer Nakheel LLC to build a tulip-shaped hotel on an island made in the form of a palm tree.
The deal that Nakheel announced Wednesday brings together two of the world's flashiest developers and marks Trump's first foray into the Middle East. Trump is behind the construction of Manhattan skyscrapers and casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J.
Nakheel, controlled by Dubai's crown prince, is in the midst of building four clusters of new islands that will be studded with pricey villas and hotels.
"We're tapping into his knowledge and ability in the high-end sector," Nakheel chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said of Trump.
The Trump Organization is not required to invest any money but is providing its brand to projects that could be entirely financed and built by Nakheel, Bin Sulayem said.
"We'll continue to build things and launch things. This will allow (Trump) to invest if he wants to."
Nakheel plans to break ground next year on a luxury hotel, The Palm Trump International Hotel and Tower, which will be built on the Palm Jumeirah, one of three palm-shaped islands that Nakheel is building off Dubai's coast.
The Trump hotel will be the centrepiece of development on the "trunk" of the Palm Jumeirah island, where construction is under way on a residential and retail boulevard dubbed the Golden Mile.
Trump "was really blown away by the size of the projects here," Bin Sulayem said.
An architect's rendering of the hotel showed a cylinder-shaped building surrounded by four gold-sheathed petals resembling a flowering tulip.
Bin Sulayem and other Nakheel officials declined to provide details on the building's size and cost.
A second project, The Trump Plaza and Marina Residences, will also be built on the Palm Jumeira, Nakheel announced.
A Nakheel official who declined to be named because he lacked permission to speak to the press said Trump's name will be on a third hotel and residential complex on another development, The World - a man-made archipelago of more than 300 islands arrayed in a map of the globe.
The joint venture gives Nakheel exclusive rights to build Trump-branded properties in 20 Middle Eastern countries.
Nakheel says it has 14 projects worth $30 billion US completed or planned. It is run by Dubai's crown prince, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Dubai is one of the world's fastest-growing cities and is emerging as a hub for business and tourism. The number of tourists doubled in 1999-2004 to reach 5.4 million.