Pitches for Picture park

Ruwaad Destinations has identified three potential sites in Dubai for the development of its US $2.5 billion (AED9.1 billion) Paramount Pictures-branded theme park.

WARMING TO HIS THEME: Darrell Metzger
WARMING TO HIS THEME: Darrell Metzger

Ruwaad Destinations has identified three potential sites in Dubai for the development of its US $2.5 billion (AED9.1 billion) Paramount Pictures-branded theme park.

The company signed a long-term licensing agreement with Paramount Licensing for the project in June last year.

The final design for the theme park was agreed with Paramount in Los Angeles last week, but plans will only be released once a site is approved.

"We purposely haven't released details," said Darrell Metzger, CEO, Ruwaad Destinations. "We're not marketing or promoting the project until we get the specific site because the sites are different sizes, so the components will be slightly different.

Metzger declined to name the three sites, but said the theme park was unlikely to be built in Dubailand, the massive theme-related project under development by Dubai Holding's Tatweer.

"We'll be developing a free-standing theme destination so will not be in the middle of other projects," he said. "We're following a proven formula, we're not testing a concept or the market. We've done our research and we think a well-developed free-standing destination would work very well.

Metzger added that the development would likely include restaurants, a retail component, hotels resorts, a waterpark and possibly a residential component.

"We're not going to spend the entire budget on the theme park, so we'll have to include these components.

Ruwaad will most likely source contractors from outside the UAE to build the project.

"From the contractor's standpoint, there are two main areas: one would be the creative, specialty expertise needed for designing the resort. Most of that comes from outside the UAE, because it just doesn't exist here," added Metzger.

"When it comes to actual construction, finding skilled staff to build the project will be difficult as labour is so tight here. We'll require a project manager that is really experienced in building things with special effects - and that's where the shortage is right now."

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