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Nickelodeon Part of New Theme Park In Dubai

Nickelodeon and United Arab Emirate-based Al Ahli Group (AAG) announced a long term partnership that will add Nickelodeon and its hit properties to the giant Al Ahli Park development underway in Dubai. Several Nickelodeon entities will become part of the park, which will open in 2011, including: SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Starfish, Dora the Explorer, Diego and BLUE'S CLUES, among others.

"AAG is so very proud to include Nickelodeon as a crown jewel in our park property. We have been in discussions for more than two and half years with the world's top intellectual properties in the entertainment world and look forward to this long-term partnership with Nickelodeon, the world's most widely distributed kids' network with proven global appeal. It has been a great experience working with our friends at Nickelodeon: Sarah Kirshbaum Levy, evp of Nickelodeon strategy & operations; Howard Smith, svp, Nickelodeon recreation; and John Paul Geurts, creative director, Nickelodeon recreation; and a truly world-class organization with an extremely talented and dedicated group of core executives," commented Mohammed Khammas, ceo of Al Ahli Group.

"We are very excited to partner with the Al Ahli Group to bring the Nickelodeon brand and our hit properties to one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the world. This is an exciting milestone in Nickelodeon's global expansion," said Kirshbaum Levy.

Smith added, "The Al Ahli Group Park promises to become an entertainment experience with tremendous family appeal, and we look forward to working together to entertain kids from around the globe. This is an exciting initiative, and we anticipate great success with Mohamed Khammas and the Al Ahli Group."

Nickelodeon joins Marvel Ent. as part of the AAG Park, which has a direct investment of more than $1 billion. New technologies and an unparalleled level of guest experiences will be the hallmark of the theme park, creating a one of a kind family oriented venue on a scale never before seen outside of North America. In addition to securing the world's leading intellectual properties, AAG is working with some of best creative and operational companies in the entertainment field to create the Al Ahli Park.

Chimera, a specially formed partnership between Storyworks Ent. and Dedica Group, will spearhead the creative development and project management. Chimera is made up of a specially formed consortium of well known creative designers, storytellers and technologists from throughout the theme park, motion picture and theater industries specifically brought together for a series of major entertainment project developments for AAG. Chimera is led by Allen Yamashita and Martin Zurauskas and based in Santa Monica, California.

The park operations will be developed and delivered out of Orlando, Florida and headed by veteran theme park specialist, Steven R. Baker of the Baker Leisure Group (BLG). BLG is home to some of the most seasoned park operation specialists in the industry with a combined core experience of more than 150 years. BLG lead economist and director, Doug Rutledge is on the ground in a permanent Dubai position spearheading the monumental operational plan.

The Al Ahli Group established its first activity in late 1960s throughout its 39 years of operation. AAG has become one of the regions most multi-disciplined business entities. The Al Ahli Group has been instrumental in steering the cement industry throughout the region to unprecedented levels of production and sales thereby playing a vital role in feeding the development engine of the Emirates. Other industries and services that the Al Ahli Group is involved in span 17 divisions and range from the largest plastic film manufacturing factory in the region, to printing and publishing, to an extensive transportation division, turnkey construction, engineering products, factories, their partnership with the Dubai Shopping Festival via the first ever Dubai Hot Air Balloon Festival imported from Albuquerque New Mexico to their latest 10 million sq. ft. real estate mix-use development within Dubailand containing the regions first ever factory-outlet stores in a premium mall setting, never before seen boutique hotels, office towers, lifestyle developments and themed restaurants and entertainment promenade with the $1 billion Dubai Outlet City Project.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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