Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Real Madrid island resort project may move to Abu Dhabi

Reuters, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

A planned US$1 billion Real Madrid-branded resort in the United Arab Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah has been halted and the project may be switched to Abu Dhabi, a senior executive at the master developer and the club said on Thursday.

The 50-hectare attraction was to have been built on the man-made Marjan Island in Ras al-Khaimah, 105km north of Dubai.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and former World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, now an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti, attended the glitzy project launch in March last year.

Drawings were displayed for a 450-room hotel, a marina and yacht club and a Real Madrid museum, plus an amusement park and a 10,000-capacity stadium.

At the time, Louis-Armand de Rouge, chief executive of Real Madrid Resort Island, a Luxembourg-based company, said the complex would open in January 2015.

However, building work never started and Rouge’s company did not buy the land on which the resort was meant to be built, Michael Hernandez, project director of Marjan Island, said on Thursday.

He said the project had been “put on hold” and that Marjan Island had no commitments relating to the resort.

In the UAE, developers often prefer to describe mothballed projects as postponed or “on hold” rather than officially scrapping them, even if years pass without any work being conducted on them.

A Real spokeswoman said media reports in Spain that the project had been scrapped were untrue and there was a possibility the resort would now be built in Abu Dhabi.

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