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Stage Holding on track for Madrid site

Van den Ende op plans complex at historic rail station

AMSTERDAM — Joop van den Ende’s pan-European live entertainment outfit Stage Holding plans to build a theater and restaurant complex in Madrid on the site of the historic Old North railway station.

The announcement is the first to come out of Stage Holding’s Spanish outfit since it upped its stake from 50% to 100% in its Spanish joint venture CIE Stage Holding in January. Film and TV producer Jose Velasco has been named as president of what is now known as Stage Holding Spain.

The 1,764 seat theatre will be built in the main arrival hall of the circa 1880 Principe Pio railway station. A restaurant that overlooks the gardens of the Royal Palace and the city is also part of the plan, as is an art exhibition venue within the theater complex.

Van den Ende, who now owns some 21 theatrical venues through his wholly owned Stage Holding outfit, has achieved a reputa-tion for combining “art, gastronomy, and musical theater,” said Valasco, “in an integrated entertainment experience.”

The architectural team will be led by Antonio Galan Font, and also include Arno Meijs, the Dutch architect behind the planning of all of Stage Holding’s theatrical venues in the last 15 years.

The Euro 5 million ($6.5 million) project is set for completion in 2008, the same year the Van den Ende theater in the south of Amsterdam will also open.

The Madrid theater venue will be the last renovations being carried out of the 300,000 square meter Principio Pia complex. Other areas of the station have already been renovated and include cinemas and shops.

The train station is an historical monument and Stage Holding’s plans are to renovate the exterior of the station to its original circa 1880 facade.

Stage Holding’s acquisitions of CIE’s 50% share was reportedly in line with CIE’s wishes to concentrate its position in live entertainment in Latin America, and the Hispanic market in the US.

The joint venture launched in 2003 with CIE has brought “Cats,” “Cabaret” and “Mamma Mia!” to Spain.

Stage Holding in Spain manages three theaters in Madrid and co-manages one in Barcelona.