MGM, Sorouh Partner for Entertainment Project in Abu Dhabi

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Sorouh Real Estate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, have entered into a strategic alliance to “explore the development of entertainment opportunities within Sorouh’s real estate portfolio,” according to a prepared statement.  The partnership’s first project will reportedly be “a large-scale entertainment destination.” A third partner, Rubicon Inc., is a Jordanian company that produces interactive multimedia e-education and 3D animation/CGI.  An MGM spokesperson told CPN that the project to be developed with Sorouh and Rubicon is only in the very earliest conceptual stages, but that it “will not be a theme park.” Both Warner Brothers and carmaker Ferrari have announced plans for theme parks in or near Abu Dhabi.  The project, according to the spokesperson, will likely include hotels, retail and entertainment venues such as movie theaters and possibly one or more Las Vegas–style theaters for live entertainment. The development process will begin over the next several months and will take three to five years for completion.  The project is being undertaken in Abu Dhabi in part, the spokesperson told CPN, because Dubai is “becoming oversaturated” with entertainment venues.  This is MGM’s second major overseas initiative since the legendary movie studio was taken private in 2005. In spring of last year, MGM signed a licensing agreement with Tianhong Real Estate and Tengxun for MGM Studio World, a retail, dining and entertainment center in Shanghai. The project is scheduled to open in spring 2010, to coincide with The World’s Fair Expo in Shanghai. Launched in September 2005, Sorouh Real Estate is Abu Dhabi’s largest publicly traded real estate developer, with a market cap of approximately $6.5 billion. The company’s highest-profile current project is Shams Abu Dhabi, which will eventually be a city of 55,000 residents on Reem Island.