Zabeel Takes Stake in Vegas Hotel Developer

Dubai-based Zabeel Investments has taken a 50 percent stake in the Light Group, a Las Vegas-based hospitality development and management company.The Light Group’s most notable development is the Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences in Las Vegas, which is currently under construction with an opening slated for 2009. The company is also planning a resort and residential development on an island called Blackadore Caye off the coast of Belize.The deal marks the first foray into the United States by the Dubai investment house, which was formed in 2006. It has recently taken major stakes in European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. and Sony Corp., and also has an equity position in Tiara Hotels & Resorts.The first Tiara property is scheduled to open this summer as part of the Tiara Residence development on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, one of the three famed palm-shaped islands created off the coast of Dubai. A second Tiara property, located adjacent to Dubai’s Business Bay, will open in 2009.In a statement, Zabeel noted that one of the goals of investing in the Light Group is to access that company’s expertise in hospitality development for other Zabeel projects in the Middle East, which seems ripe for such development. According to a recent report published by Global Futures and Foresight, an estimated $3 trillion will beinvested in the leisure and tourism industry in the Arab world in the next 20 years, allowing for the created of perhaps as many as 200 new hotels.