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Plans for Nickelodeon resort inching forward

Ground breaking set for 2010

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Behind schedule, but still planning to bring slime to San Diego, the proposed Nickelodeon resort is set to break ground in early 2010.

The resort is part of a global partnership with Nickelodeon, a unit of Viacom International Inc.'s (NYSE: VIA) MTV Networks; Miller Global Properties LLC, an international real estate investment and development company; and Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR). The resort will be the first of 20 themed resorts expected to be under construction by 2020.

The agreement was announced in May 2007, and project spokeswoman Lori Goldstein said progress has been slow. The project was originally scheduled to break ground in January of this year.

"The design work is going a little slower than expected," she said. The project could break ground in early 2010 and then, if construction follows a similar schedule as originally predicted, the hotel could open in 2012.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Nickelodeon hotel, which is expected to break ground in 2010 and open in 2012.

There are no official design plans for the project yet, so Goldstein did not know how much the early renderings would actually resemble the final renderings, but she said there would be similarities and the concept of an upscale, self-contained destination resort had not changed.

The San Diego resort will be located at Liberty Station. The design calls for 650 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot water park and an activity deck complex featuring a variety of pools and interactive attractions.

According the 2007 announcement, Miller Global will have certain exclusive rights to develop and own the resorts in specified geographic areas, and plans to seed an investment fund expected to initially provide $300 million of dedicated development equity capital. Marriott will manage all "Nickelodeon Resorts by" properties.

"The Marriott and Nickelodeon partnership provides an extremely compelling investment opportunity by pairing the hotel industry leader with the top kids' entertainment brand," said Eval Ofer, co-chairman of Miller Global Properties. "Together, we will create fantastic destinations that we are confident will be a great economic success."

When Marriott and Nickelodeon announced the San Diego location, they announced other potential resort locations being considered for development are major family-oriented destinations in the United States, the Caribbean and Mexican resort areas, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

The "Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott" will seek to attract families with children, but the destination resorts will also appeal to fun-seeking business groups and individuals. Those familiar with the Marriott's brand of hospitality will be pleased, as will those seeking an entertaining evening with Nickelodeon-themed activities. Every resort will have a wide variety of attractions, ranging from water features to live entertainment with Nickelodeon characters like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob Squarepants.

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