Construction has begun on a Warner Brothers theme park in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, with completion due in 2018.
The theme park will have 19 rides, a hotel and several multiplex cinemas. It is being developed by Aldar Properties and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, according to a deal signed with Warner Brothers in 2007.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros said initial work to prepare the Yas Island site for development was under way. He said: "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."
Sheikh Abdullah Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, told Gulf News in 2007: "It’s a multi-billion dollar deal; it’s significant. Aldar and Abu Dhabi Media Company together will invest 50%, while the remaining 50 will be invested by Warner Bros.
"We’re going to build an integrated entertainment and media infrastructure that will be respectful to our culture and values his is a regional partnership that will cover the entire Middle East region."
Meanwhile, in Riyadh, the Lebanese KidzMondo cities group announced a plan to open the first theme park in Saudi Arabia.
The company specialises in building educational parks consisting of cities scaled down to a child’s size.
The franchise agreement was signed by Suleiman Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, the chief executive of Abdul Rahman Saad Al-Rashid, and Ali Kazma, chairman of Kidz Holding and founder of the KidzMondo concept.
Kazma said: "We’ve always regarded the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, especially Saudi Arabia, as a strategic market for our innovative educational and entertainment projects. We also expect to achieve great success through the signing of this agreement and entrance into the largest market of the Arab world."
Image: A Warner Brothers Studios sign (Wikimedia Commons)