The Canadian entrepreneur is developing a $5 billion moon-like resort project in Dubai, a wealthy city known for many architectural wonders.
“We have the biggest brand in the world,” Canadian businessman Michael Henderson said in an interview with US media over the weekend, referring to the Moon. “8 billion people know our brand and we haven’t even started.”
Henderson is developing MOON, a project to build a 274-meter-high replica of the Moon above a 30-meter-tall building. A resort will be built within a spherical structure with a 4,000-room hotel and a 10,000-seat ballroom. The project also presents the idea of building a “lunar colony”, a simulation area that helps guests feel like they are actually walking on the moon.
Drawing of the Moon project on the Palm Jumeirah island in Dubai. Photo: AP
The spherical structure will rest on a cylindrical building like a plinth below and will glow at night. Henderson presented the project at the Arab Tourism Market event in Dubai in early May.
Henderson believes his project is not in vain. His firm’s architects have designed blueprints for buildings above the Dubai Pearl, which is being demolished near the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah, or on Palm Jebel Ali, the unfinished project next door.
Dubai Pearl and Palm Jebel Ali are two projects that were put on hold after the 2009 financial crisis that rocked Dubai. Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), then had to bail out $20 billion for Dubai.
Moon Resort nightclub project. Photo: Moon World Resorts
Almost 15 years have passed, Dubai has transformed. Rents here are up 26.9% over the same period last year. Last year, 86,849 units were sold, surpassing the 2009 record of 80,831 units.
“Dubai is different now than it was in 2009,” said Lewis Allsopp, CEO of the famous real estate firm Allsopp & Allsopp in Dubai. The new products are all “sold out”.
Project Moon could include a casino, although the UAE prohibits gambling. Many big brands are still hoping to be able to build casinos in Dubai. Wynn Resort plans to build a $3.9 billion resort north of Dubai with a casino opening in 2027, meaning the law could change.
Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, and many other magnificent structures. Christopher Davidson, an expert on the Middle East, said Dubai’s rulers might support the lunar resort idea. Dubai is home to the UAE space centre, which has sent a probe to Mars and tried to send a rover to the Moon, but failed.
“Dubai’s elite strongly believe in science and progress. A mega-project like this seems to meet these requirements”, commented Davidson.
Room design at Moon resort. Photo: Moon World Resorts
Hong Hanh (according to the AP)