The developer of a major new entertainment venue in Dubai claims the facility will be the largest of its kind in the Middle East when it opens in the first quarter of next year.
Speaking exclusively to S&S, the general manager of International Communications and Entertainment (ICE), Raymond Gaspar, claimed the venue, which will be known as The Palladium, also represents the region's first purpose-built facility for staging major entertainment events.
"It's the first arena of its kind in the region," he claimed.
"The building will house an extensive stage rigging system and other features including a 24-metre fly tower. Such technology will enable us to stage the largest and most technically complex entertainment events in the Middle East."
Gaspar explained that the initial plan for the venue, which was first proposed in December 2003, called for the construction of a much smaller development.
However, the company quickly revised its plans after identifying a significant deficit of large-scale major entertainment venues in Dubai. As a result, the venue's approved master plan calls for the inclusion of 3500 roll away seats that can be removed in order to host crowds of more than 9000 for music concerts.
In addition to theatre and musical productions, Gaspar expects the venue to be used for conferences, exhibitions, award ceremonies and sports events.
Construction work on The Palladium commenced in September 2006 and is expected to be completed next March.
"The venue's ground floor has already been constructed, which will form the basis of the main arena," he explained.
"Everything is on track for the venue's opening in March. We are already negotiating with clients to stage major events in the first half of the year."
Gaspar claimed The Palladium's central location adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai Internet City would also prove a major incentive for clients looking to stage major events in the emirate.
The venue will also be connected to a multi-storey car park providing space for 1200 vehicles.