Funding not yet secured for $1bn UAE Real Madrid resort

Developers confident RAK project will go ahead despite lack of investment
Funding not yet secured for $1bn UAE Real Madrid resort
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Thu 29 Mar 2012 06:03 PM

Developers of the $1bn Real Madrid Resort Island planned for Ras Al Khaimah are confident the project will be completed by 2015 despite having not yet secured the funding.

Speaking at press conference today, CEO of the venture Louis Armand De Rouge said developers were still in the process of luring investors to the UAE-based project, but planned to start construction in six months.

“This is such a unique project, that I don’t see any drawbacks in people being attracted to funding,” he told reporters after the conference.

“The only problem I think we might be faced with is selecting investors. It’s not so much about whether we’ll have the money to make it but who is going to participate in the project. We already have people who want to buy most of it.”

The development, which is a joint venture between Spanish football team Real Madrid, the government of Ras Al Khaimah and Luxembourg-based RAK Marjan Island Football Investment Fund, will begin building work following a roadshow which aims to bring in investors, he said.

He added that the involved parties would be committed for a period of 20 years.

Asked how much of finance would be provided by Real Madrid and the Ras Al Khaimah government, De Rouge declined to comment.

“We cannot disclose how much is coming from whom, [but] we know it is going to be invested in.”

The Real Madrid Resort Island was announced earlier this week as a 430,000 sqm mega-project located in Ras Al Khaimah.

In addition to a 10,000-seat Real Madrid-branded football stadium, the resort will also feature a water park, a sport port, rollercoaster, residential area, luxury hotels, a Real Madrid museum and numerous other sports facilities.

It will be the first tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark, and could boost tourism to the northern emirate, which generates significantly less from tourism activities than Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

De Rouge said he expects around 1m visitors per year and for developers to break even within three years.

“We expect it to be profitable,” he said. “In the first three years we should be more than breaking even.”

Ras Al Khaimah was chosen for its history of stability and investment, and its close proximity to Dubai, he said.

The UAE itself was seen as a strategic location which would allow Real Madrid to tap into its current target market, the Asian Pacific.

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