Barney, Pingu, Bob the Builder head for Middle East
British kidvid shingle Hit Entertainment has become the latest media company to grab a slice of the ever-growing Dubai real estate pie by inking a strategic alliance with Dubailand, the 3 billion sq. ft. development designed to help make Dubai a global tourist destination.The deal will see Hit Entertainment execs develop a series of family-friendly projects, including the 25,000 sq. ft. Little Big Club theme park designed around Hit franchises such as “Barney,” “Pingu” and “Bob the Builder.” The seven figure dollar deal will be set within the Global Village section of Dubailand, itself a member of U.A.E.-based real estate company Tatweer, and will also include live entertainment, themed restaurants and retail outlets. The Global Village is set to open by the end of the year. “The alliance with Hit Entertainment is a continuation of our strategy of bringing the world’s most prestigious names in the leisure and entertainment industries to Dubailand,” said Dubailand CEO Mohammad Al-Habbai. Deal follows on from Tatweer’s billion-dollar-plus strategic alliance with DreamWorks Animation in January to develop a range of tourism and leisure projects, the highlight of which will be a theme park. The 5 million sq. ft. DreamWorks Animation branded park will see rides incorporate characters from DreamWorks titles such as the “Shrek” franchise and upcoming “Kung Fu Panda.” In May last year, Tatweer also announced a $2 billion deal with Universal Parks and Resorts to build Universal City Dubailand. The 505-acre development, which will include a 149-acre Universal theme park along with a range of hotels, restaurants and retail outlets, will open in 2010. Marvel Entertainment, Nickelodeon and Paramount have also inked their own licensing and multi-media deals with U.A.E.-based real estate companies in recent months.