By Ed Attwood
Italian businessman ties up with Lebanon-based Pragma Group to build lifestyle venue in Media City
Italian business personality Flavio Briatore will launch a $150m ‘Billionaire’s Square’ in Dubai in conjunction with Lebanon's Pragma Group.
The project will consist of a boutique hotel, as well as a Billionaire Bar and Grill, alongside other restaurants, bars and a fitness club.
Billionaire’s Square will be built on the current site of the Palladium entertainment venue in Dubai Media City, and is scheduled for full completion in December next year.
“I believe Dubai is one of the strategic places for us - we try to have a club in a place where people go on holiday as well and Dubai is great mix of business and holiday,” Briatore told Arabian Business.
Pragma Group said the 45-suite boutique hotel will be run by “a famous brand” although that deal is still to be finalised. It will target the mid to upper segment of the market, its chairman added.
"We have appointed the lead architectural consultant, MZ Architects, and we’re in the process of appointing the full contractor,” said Pragma Group chairman Joe Tabet.
“We’ve just been looking at the financials, and we will be turning a profit in the first year [of operations].”
Tabet said that the cost of renovation on the current Palladium site would be “in the neighbourhood” of $60m. The last events at the venue will be held between 10 and 15 December, after which construction on Billionaire’s Square will begin.
The Pragma Group bought the Palladium site in June, and spent the summer carrying out financial and market research on its proposed project.
When questioned as to whether his company had taken on the rumoured debts of the previous owners, Tabet said: “I don’t think there are issues with any of the contractors or subcontractors, but whatever we could discover from the due diligence exercise that we’ve undertaken, we’re honouring all those commitments to suppliers, yes.”
Lifestyle investment firm Pragma Group has built up a number of brands in the Middle East from its original base in Lebanon. It already operates a number of lifestyle destinations in Dubai, including the Cavalli Club in the Fairmont and the 400 Club.
Briatore already has a Billionaire boutique in Dubai Mall. There are no current plans to open a similar boutique in the new project, although the businessman did not rule out the option for the future.
The former Formula One team boss launched the Billionaire brand in 1998, and owns a club in Sardinia under the same name. He also has a stake in the English Queens Park Rangers football team.
Has anyone googled this guy, and is he really the kind of "businessman" to put Dubai back on a credibility tracjectory? Just mention the F1 incident, for one.
His "Billionaire's Club" in Porto Cervo / Sardinia is an outstanding nightclub - awesome people and great entertainment! I am sure he will bring class from the finest to Dubai! Flavio guarantees jet-set!
Hmmm... put Briatore in a line-up with other "businessmen" of this region and then ask your question dear John. :)
Likely to be a one hit wonder, like everything else built in profusion, why will tourists suddenly flock to Billionaires Square, Dubai Marina just up the road, Barasti, Grosvenor House, Al Habtoor Grand, the Palm Jumeirah etc that area is awash with hotels. Maybe it plugs the gap between 2012 and the arrival of the Dubai Pearl next door, in 2013 we think!
Confused as to what's happening to the Palladium, part of the complex or is it being demolished, AB more research please. Still I am sure that Tecom will be rubbing their hands with glee at another US$ 150 million invested in the same site.
Let us hope that an explosion of new media ventures takes place to fill the joint. Perhaps Little Italy would be a better name, billionaires are notable for their desire for privacy.
Red Snappa, thanks for your comment. The Palladium venue will be closed down and entirely refurbished to create the new project. The cost of renovation is around $60m. Ed Attwood
This is exactly the thing that led to the downfall and it belongs in another area.
People are just not interested anymore . They are alrerady fantastic venues all over the city and even they are now half empty.
The Billionaire Boutique in Dubai mall belongs to Binhendi Group, who also owns Brioni, Zilli, Boss and many more brands.
The Binhendi Group has been the pioneers in the Mens fashion since 1974.
Many thanks for your prompt response below.
Might I impose on your impeccably good nature and in terrier-like fashion pose another question or three? Is the extravagant Mr. Flavio also footing the bill for the $60 million to spent on the Palladium, i.e. part of or in addition to the $150 million? If its the latter, then the ex Mrs. Snappa would love him! That is some make-over, an abundance of gold taps I presume. One hopes that the new Super-Palladium will be the greenest building on the planet for that amount of Abraham Lincolns.
Thursday, 11 November 2010 11:40 AM - UAE
Red Snappa, thanks for your comment. The Palladium venue will be closed down and entirely refurbished to create the new project. The cost of renovation is around $60m. Ed Attwood"