Leasing for Dubai Parks’ leisure options set for May

Dubai Parks and Resorts construction site at Jebel Ali. Image Credit: Gulf News ArchiveDubai Parks and Resorts construction site at Jebel Ali. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Leasing of Dubai Parks and Resorts’ 220,000 square feet of prime leisure and entertainment options will start by May next year, and well ahead of the destination’s October opening. The outlets will dot either side of the ‘Riverland’ component of the master-development, and the course will stretch through to all of three theme parks that are coming up within.

The developer’s intention for the Riverland leasing spaces are to have 40 per cent of it committed to known F&B/entertainment brands and the rest for new acts. All of them will have to have their outlets’ theming to be in sync with that of the wider development’s.

“We plan to do all of the leasing in-house and working closely with one of the committees which will decide on the concept selections,” said Raeed Al Nuaimi, CEO. “At a later stage we will get a third-party operator for Riverland.” (The developer’s parent entity, Meraas Holding, has got history in creating leisure destinations by the water — The Beach adjacent to the Jumeirah Beach Residence is part of their substantial asset portfolio.)

Riverland will be modelled around a French village of 1600s vintage and then seguing into Colonial architecture from the 1930s and America of circa 1950s.

According to Nuaimi, the 50 per cent mark has been cleared on the project site and in terms of contracts awarded. Since the start of the year, there are more workers on site — 6,500 as opposed to around 2,000 in late 2014 — creating the resort-wide infrastructure. “Advances are being made on all fronts and everything that we have done up to now is running on schedule,” said Al Nuaimi. “We have all the parties involved talking to each other and in cor-ordination with Samsung SDS and CH2M Hill, the consultants.

“Some of the concepts that will make up the themes are being shipped to Dubai. Everything is as they should be in terms of being within budget. I don’t think we will needing another inflow of funds.” (The overall development cost is estimated at Dh10.5 billion.)

At the site, the topping up of the two “major” structures — the DreamWorks’ facility and the Rajmahal (the 850-seater live performance theatre that is part of the Bollywood themed component) — are done. (The Indian theme park operator Wizcraft International Entertainment has been brought in to develop the acts.)

“Sure, unlike the other elements we will have at the park, the Bollywood part is the one where nothing of this sort and scale had never been done before,” said Nuaimi. “But we did have an early start on what we wanted to feature there and how to go about doing it. From there to create concepts modelled around the biggest box office hits Bollywood has seen was quite easy. The newness will come when future visitors themselves can become the characters within their favourite movies.”

Outside of Bollywood, recent rights acquisitions were done for the ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Step Up’. “There are many layers involved in creating the destination in the making — there are the theme operators, then there are the media entities creating the specialised content, and finally there are the show production firms responsible for the supply of the many props and animatronics.

“And that’s the easy part — it does not take much time to produce once the orders for props are placed. As for the wider goal of opening the theme park in October 2016, it’s doable.”


Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com

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