Real Madrid $1 bln Gulf resort eyes funding options
By Matt Smith
RAS AL-KHAIMAH, UAE, March 29 (Reuters) - A holiday resort in the United Arab Emirates that will use the brand of nine-times European soccer champions Real Madrid has yet to finalise its funding options to build the $1 billion complex, the project's chief executive said on Thursday.
The 50-hectare (124 acre) resort, which is to be built on an artificial island in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, is slated to open in January 2015. It will follow other audacious projects in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including the world's tallest tower, a Ferrari-branded theme park and man-made palm-shaped islands.
"The only problem we might face is selecting investors, not so much about whether we have the money to make it, but who will participate, because there are already heaps of people that wants to buy most of it," Louis-Armand de Rouge, chief executive of Real Madrid Resort Island, told a news conference.
The Luxembourg-based firm will hold road shows in April for potential investors.
"The idea is to have six months study from now until year-end and then two years' construction," de Rouge said.
This confidence comes despite the failure of a slew of sports-themed projects in the UAE in the wake of the financial crisis, including a Tiger Woods-branded golf and real estate development.
Prospective investors for the Real Madrid resort included "individuals, private institutions and some financial institutions", de Rouge said.
He declined to reveal how much Real Madrid would invest in the Gulf coast resort, which will feature a 450-room hotel, a marina and yacht club and a Real Madrid museum, plus an amusement park and a 10,000-capacity stadium. Continued...