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Kleindienst Group to deliver the world’s most sustainable tourism project: ‘The Heart of Europe’

A new sustainable and architectural wonder, a vertical hanging garden comprising of 100,000 green plants is being added to the world’s most sustainable tourism project, the Heart of Europe, just 4 kilometres off the coast of Dubai. The green living walls will add to the hotel biodiversity as it will attract bees, butterflies and birds whilst keeping the building cooler and reducing the hotels’ overall carbon footprint.

A series of micro-jungles, vertical hanging gardens, rainy street offering cool shower during the hot summer season, solar power, re-creation of coral reefs and expansion of marine habitat, solar-powered hotel suites that are backed with a ‘Zero discharge policy’ – are some of the key features that will set the Heart of Europe apart from all other tourism projects in the world.

A car-free, noise-free and pollution-free destination, the Heart of Europe is all set to become the latest wonder in the Modern Age and once completed, will become a treasure trove and a ‘must visit’ destination for world travellers – especially those who care about environment and sustainability.

Developed by Kleindienst Group, The Heart of Europe is a US$5 billion (Dh18.3 billion) master-planned second home and tourism island destination – that has sustainability at its core. The project is being developed within the World Islands – a cluster of 300 man-made islands off the coast of Dubai’s Jumeirah district – that was aimed to create a new paradisiacal destination with boutique hotels, residential and hospitality properties to attract international tourists, investors seeking a second home and UAE residents looking for a new staycation experience.

The Heart of Europe is being developed on six of those islands – bringing the best of European culture, heritage and experience in Dubai. The destination will offer year-round European cultural festivities – as many as 51 annual festivals – to bring the best of European flavour in Dubai. The restaurants and cafes will serve organic and authentic European cuisine. The destination will showcase the incredible wealth and resources of an unsoiled paradise and is set to become a ‘natural, cultural, human’ destination.

“Zero discharge was almost impossible on an island tourism destination and unthinkable a few years ago. However, it is becoming a reality now, thanks to the development of environmental engineering and technology. We are now able to achieve zero discharge at the Heart of Europe,” Josef Kleindienst, Chairman of Kleindienst Group, says.

“Once completed, it will be the world’s first sustainable island tourism destination with a ‘Zero’ discharge policy. This means, there will be no discharge into the sea waters!”

The project, which was initiated around 2008, came out of age and evolved through increased regulations – both environmental and engineering – to make projects more sustainable.

“When we purchased the islands, the guidelines were simple – to build world-class touristic assets – to attract tourists to Dubai. Since then, the authorities have strengthened the engineering guidelines that will make projects environmental sustainability,” Josef Kleindienst says.

“As a developer, we have gone extra miles to make sure we not only fulfil those sustainability regulations, but exceed them. For example, our civil structures are built to last more than 100 years, although the regulation is for a 50-year building life.

“So, we have exceeded our environmental and sustainability requirements as a project developer. Moreover, all our projects are green and will be surrounded by sustainable landscape, vegetation, micro-jungles that are watered through underground piping system to maximise the utilisation of the water resources. The abundance of trees and plants in the micro-jungles will attract seasonal birds and become home to butterflies.”

The Heart of Europe that will host nearly 4,000 accommodation units spread across 15 hotels, 10 Beach Palaces on its Sweden Island, 32 luxury villas on Germany Island, 141 Floating Seahorse Villas, and host between 8,000 to 15,000 people including staff at its peak, will not discharge any waste into the sea – a remarkable feat that defies convention.

Construction of the Heart of Europe’s Phase I which includes the development of nearly 600 units across 5 key projects including 8 Sweden Beach Palaces, 32 luxury villas on the Germany Island, Honeymoon Island – home to The Floating Seahorse, Portofino family hotel with over 170 family suites, and over 370 deluxe suites in the Côte d’Azur resort on the Main Europe Island.

The Phase I is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020 and handover processes will start upon getting necessary permission from the authorities, depending on the Covid-19 pandemic situation. In order to add to the attractions and make the project more sustainable and more ‘European’, the project introduces some unique features.

At the sub-sea level, the Heart of Europe is expanding the marine habitat by creating and installing coral reefs for fish, breeding up to 50 species form the Arabian Gulf, including the carpet shark, to increase the marine environment and make it more sustainable. These coral reefs will create marine habitat for various species of fish and other forms of marine lives that will transform the sea bed a haven for diving and snorkelling activities.

“This will be a major attraction for underwater divers, snorkelers, marine biologists, students and those who want to explore the beauty of the marine habitat. We will have attractions above and below the water and all these will be sustainable,” Josef Kleindienst says.

“Innovation and sustainability are part of our DNA and today we are proud to announce that the Heart of Europe will be the most sustainable leisure tourism island destination in the world that we will offer to the tourists and visitors.”

A climate-controlled Rainy Street covering 1 kilometre stretch of walkway where it will rain on command maintaining an ambient temperature of 27 degrees Celsius as well as 5 kilometres per hour winds and 60 per cent humidity, in order to mirror the summer climate in southern Europe, is getting ready – making it a major tourist attraction when phase 1 of the project opens later this year.

The Rainy Street will have a boulevard setting filled with street cafés, casual dining restaurants, retail outlets, fashion and souvenir shops. It will also host as many as 51 year-round European festivals that will enthrall local and international tourists.

The Heart of Europe will also feature an extraordinary sustainable swimming pool measuring a record 12,000 square metres, which will connect the four hotels of the Côte d’Azur resort and will be fully sustainable with fresh water production, recycling and heating generated by solar panels and a zero discharge policy.

A rainforest will be planted with more than 100 types of exotic plants and palm trees right next to the Rainy Street. The forest will also have a sustainable irrigation system with recycled water and rain will fall on command to create a refreshing micro-climate. The rainforest will deliver a new sustainable entertainment and educational experience in Dubai.

Sustainability has been pivotal in the development of the Heart of Europe. The project is home to the Coral Institute which spearheads a pioneering coral reef programme that aims at developing marine life in the surrounding waters.

The Heart of Europe also has a zero micro-plastics policy to ensure the protection of the Arabian Gulf and species of marine life that reside around the six islands. Other sustainable initiatives include clean energy powered by solar panels and hydro fuels, pesticide and fungicide free landscaping, car free environment, recycling of waters to irrigate the gardens and the use of organic food in the hotels.