Reliance Entertainment in 50:50 JV with GWC
Even before the ink has dried on the deal with Nitin Desai’s ND Studio, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment has sealed yet another 50:50 joint venture — with London-based Great Wheel Corporation (GWC), the IPR holders of iconic viewing and observation structures such as the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer.
Reliance Entertainment has struck an exclusive deal with the GWC to develop and operate great wheels and observation platforms in five cities in India. The total investment, excluding land, is estimated to be $500 million.
The first two cities where the project will take off will be Mumbai and Delhi. Reliance Entertainment executives told ET that they are in talks with the Maharashtra and New Delhi governments for acquiring land. The other three locations are yet to be finalised, as the company is studying which locations would be most conducive to tourists as well as land availability.
"The objective is to create iconic mega structures which will be lasting landmarks in Mumbai and Delhi, just as its being done in all major metropolis in the world such as London, Beijing, Dubai and Singapore," a Reliance Entertainment spokesperson said.
GWC is working on similar projects in Beijing, Dubai, Berlin and Orlando (US), and its most recent work is the Singapore Flyer, which is also a gigantic viewing platform just like the London Eye.
Reliance Entertainment is looking at building a wheel that has a diameter of 180 metres, with 30 viewing cabins, and can accommodate more than a 1,000 people per revolution. This is even bigger than the world famous London Eye.
Reliance Entertainment has tentatively named the wheels The BIG Wheel in tandem with its entertainment brand name BIG. However, the issue that the officials are grappling with is land availability coupled with the fact that the attractions have to be located at a prime spaces within the city.
It is learnt that the Delhi government is keen on the project and looks at this as a great opportunity to time it with the Commonwealth Games that is being hosted in 2010. In fact in June, the state government was said to be working on a plan to create a replica of the London Eye in Delhi before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
For Reliance Entertainment, the move is to create mini-entertainment destination, that encompass all forms of entertainment apart from movies and is looking at having a presence in the entire entertainment chain.
For the uninitiated, the London Eye has emerged as one of the biggest tourist attractions in London. It is estimated to flock in more visitors per day than even the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In fact, the London Eye attracts close to 10 million tourists a year.
GWC, the 50% partner in the project, is in the business of building observation platforms. Some of its other projects include the World Highest Sky Boat in Beijing, Reuzenrad in Peking and Spin in Dubai.