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Sun 1 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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UAE capital launches conference cornerstone

Abu Dhabi’s Capital Centre will form one of the region’s largest business zones and rival Dubai

Abu Dhabi’s AED 8 billion (US $2.17 billion) business district and exhibition centre will form one of the “cornerstones” of the UAE capital’s strategy and strengthen its profile as a “major destination” in the Middle East for the Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions (MICE) industry, according to HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi executive council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC).

“Capital Centre will serve as a foundation on which new investments, industrial growth and business tourism will be built,” he added.

The sale of plots on the large-scale business and residential micro-city, being built around the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, is expected to draw in thousands of international CEOs and their companies in future years. The huge 147,582 metres squared Capital Centre is being designed by an international team of master-planners, architects and engineers to create a thriving destination for the region and one that is hoped will rival business neighbour Dubai. The strategically located plots, collectively valued at more than AED 2.1 billion (US $571 million), are earmarked for the mixed-use development of hotels, residential and commercial towers, a retail zone and a marina. From 2007 Abu Dhabi will begin to see the project take shape. Ideally located near the diplomatic area, the UAE capital’s first development of this kind focusing on economic and exhibition development will create a vibrant business and lifestyle destination for residents and visitors alike. At the heart of the centre will be a best-of-breed exhibition multiplex that is already under construction.

Some of the Centre’s highlights will include The Grandstand, a tribute to the historic grandstand that was used by His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the UAE, to view parades and other key celebrations; 30 Towers, that will house a mix of hotel and residential accommodation as well as office and retail opportunities, The Galleria, an enclosed multi-storey air conditioned shopping area; The Marina, the future home of super-yachts, marine exhibitions and floating hotels; and the Feature Tower, a gravity defying construction, home to the exhibition centre itself.

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