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MGM Resorts subsidiary to help develop Dubai resort project

Updated March 20, 2017 - 1:37 pm

An MGM Resorts International subsidiary has been selected to operate and help build a 2 million-square-foot nongaming resort on 26 acres on Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach.

The company announced Monday that its MGM Hospitality subsidiary would partner with Dubai-based wasl Hospitality and Leisure, a subsidiary of wasl Asset Management Group, to build a beachfront development centerpieced with a 360-foot-high sphere and near the 56-story Burj Al Arab luxury hotel.

The planned MGM-wasl project will feature an MGM Hotel, MGM Residences and a Bellagio Hotel.

It’s MGM’s first project in the Middle East. Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates and is on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf.

The project will be financed by Dubai’s government and no cost estimate has been released.

In an interview with the Review-Journal, Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, said the project has been several months in the making.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Hornbuckle said in a telephone interview. “This has been going for the better part of two years with the wasl group, which has been a great group to work with.”

Hornbuckle said developers are ready to go on the project. He said it would take nine months to mobilize and about three years to build, resulting in a probable 2021 opening.

Under terms of the agreement with wasl, MGM would serve as a consultant to the project and then operate it once it opens. The Las Vegas-based company would receive a percentage of management, branding and technical services fees as well as daily management fees. The company also could receive a performance fee if certain goals are met.

The project was presented to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, by officials from both MGM Resorts and wasl Asset Management Group.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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