Real estate developer Aldar Properties and Italian automotive manufacturer Ferrari yesterday announced the beginning of construction of the Ferrari Theme Park on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, scheduled to be completed in 2009.
"Aldar's current ownership of the project is 100 per cent," Aldar chairman Ahmad Ali Al Sayegh told Gulf News at the theme park's foundation stone laying ceremony.
"Aldar always considers innovative methods for bringing in partners and we believe, the financial model for Ferrari World will be attractive."
Al Sayegh declined to comment on the commercial terms of the deal with Ferrari and the size of Aldar's investment in the Ferrari Theme Park.
Asked whether Aldar would consider taking a partner for the Yas Island project, Al Sayegh said: "It's possible. This is the only place in the Middle East which will have hotels, entertainment and infrastructure, all at the same time. This will make Yas Island a very attractive destination for visitors and investors."
Ferrari's President Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo said, "Ferrari brings its brand, exclusivity, technology, cars, drivers and knowhow to the Theme Park. We have a great history. Over the last 60 years, Ferrari has been the most successful car manufacturer, there's an average waiting period of 24 months for those who want to own a Ferrari. We have won more races than anyone."
Di Montezemolo said the Yas Island Formula One racetrack would be ready by the spring of 2009.
"This will enable us to test our cars in extreme conditions," he added. He said the prices of Ferrari cars range from 173,000 to 300,000 euros and the company sells about 400 cars annually in the states that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council.
"In the UAE alone, we sell more than 100 cars a year," said Di Montezemolo.
Separately, he said Ferrari has no intention of allowing the UAE's Mub-adala to increase its stake in the company.
"They have a 5 per cent stake in Ferrari already. No more."
Aldar chief executive officer Ronald Stephen Barrott said that in addition to the Formula One track, the Ferrari Theme Park would have a championship go-carting track, dune bungee track, rally cross circuit, a drag racing track and seven hotels - both four-star and five-star.
"We have employed a dozen contractors for the project's execution. Our target customers are people, families within the GCC within a seven-hour flight time and motor racing enthusiasts," said Barrott. ( Gulf )