Initial work has begun on a Warner Bros theme park in Abu Dhabi, after construction contracts were awarded in recent months.
A site on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island is being prepared for construction and the theme park is expected to be completed by 2018, the Hollywood film producer told Arabian Business this week.
Warner Bros Entertainment signed a deal in 2007 with Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties and the Abu Dhabi Media Company to bring Warner Bros-themed project to the Middle East.
The partnership intends to build a theme park with 19 different rides, a hotel and jointly-owned multiplex cinemas, and to form a joint venture fund to finance films and publish video games.
Aldar chairman Ahmad Ali Al Sayegh said at the time: “It’s a multi-billion dollar deal, it’s significant.”
He reportedly told Gulf News in 2007 that the money would be invested over the next five years. “Abu Dhabi companies have collaborated to close a very important deal for the UAE,” Al Sayegh was quoted as saying.
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“Aldar and Abu Dhabi Media Company together will invest 50 percent, while the remaining 50 per cent would be invested by Warner Bros. We are going to build an integrated entertainment and media infrastructure that will be respectful to our culture and values. This is a regional partnership that will cover the entire Middle East region.”
It is understood that the deal provides the parties with additional opportunities to develop related ventures, such as production facilities, digital content distribution and retail opportunities across the Gulf.
The theme park is the first project to be developed under the deal. Construction firms began bidding for involvement in the project last September, and a spokesman for Warner Bros told Arabian Business on Tuesday that initial work to prepare the Yas Island site for development was currently under way.
The spokesman said: “As has been previously announced, Warner Bros plans to develop a theme park in Abu Dhabi. With our partners at Miral Asset Management, we have started initial development of the area on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island and expect the project to be completed in 2018.”
Warner Bros chairman and chief executive officer Barry Meyer was quoted as saying: in 2007: “We look forward to working alongside Aldar and the Abu Dhabi Media Company to… extend the Warner Bros businesses and brand throughout the region.”
An Aldar Properties spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Arabian Business.