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Buffett to Expand Business Empire to Middle East

April 1st, 2010

Jimmy Buffett is expanding his business empire once again, though this time on a much grander scale. According to Gulf News, Buffett’s Margaritaville Enterprises will build a mega resort on an artificial archipelago in the Persian Gulf just off the coast of Dubai:

United States-based Margaritaville Enterprises announced today plans to build a resort and casino on an artificial chain of islands off the coast of Dubai, similar to the Palm Islands.

“We are very excited to bring the Margaritaville experience to the Middle East,” said Tom Rosenbaum, director of operations for Margaritaville Enterprises. “It’s a big step for us, going from the U.S. and the Caribbean to halfway around the world. But we feel the Margaritaville brand will enjoy strong success in the tourist haven of Dubai. It’s really the perfect next step for us.”

The $1.5 billion dollar project will feature one main island and 23 separate, smaller islands. From the air, the archipelago will resemble a margarita glass. The main island will feature a 200,000 sq. ft. casino, a three-story Margaritaville Cafe, and number of shopping and entertainment centers. A four-lane road will connect the main island to the mainland, but the individual islands will only be reachable by boat or underwater, clear tunnels connected to the main island. The 23 islands will have a range of lodging options, from small cottages to large villas.

The islands will be built with sand dredged from the Persian Gulf in the same manner as the Palm Islands. The earth work is scheduled to begin late this year and is expected to take four years to complete. Once the islands are “built,” construction on the resort itself will begin. Final completion for the project is 2016.

This won’t be Buffett’s first foray into casinos. A Margaritaville Casino & Resort is being built in Biloxi, Mississippi, though construction is currently stalled due to the poor economy.

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Tagged in Business Empire, Margaritaville Cafes