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AEG initiates building at Millennium Dome
By Tom McGhee, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Saturday, July 8, 2006

Philip Anschutz's company AEG has begun construction on a sports and entertainment arena in London under a 23-acre fiberglass tent that was the Millennium Dome.

The arena is planned to be the centerpiece of a project that would include theaters, hotels, offices and housing, and is expected to open next summer, said AEG spokesman Michael Roth.

There is no timetable for construction to begin on other parts of the project, which would be similar to development planned for the area surrounding another Anschutz property, the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The British government built the Millennium Dome for millennium celebrations in 2000, hoping that it would become a viable entertainment venue.

Instead, the attraction on the Greenwich Peninsula at a bend of the Thames River was a flop.

AEG, based in Los Angeles, won the right to lease the Dome and land around it for development.  The British government turned over the dome and 189 acres surrounding it to a company called Meridian Delta Ltd.  AEG is Meridian's partner and will have responsibility for developing and running the new venue. In exchange for the site, the partners promised to share future profits with the government.

AEG expects to spend $1.8 billion to develop the area around the Dome, which has been renamed The 02, thanks to a naming-rights agreement with the British telecom company.

A 23,000-seat indoor arena -- similar in size to Denver's Pepsi Center -- will be the focal point of the redevelopment.  Plans for the new dome call for 10 restaurants, eight bars, a British music hall of fame, a jazz and blues street, a 1,800-seat theater and a 2,200-capacity music club.

A super-casino could also be built.  AEG recently announced plans for another mixed-use entertainment project in Berlin.

Staff writer Tom McGhee can be reached at 303-820-1671 or tmcghee@denverpost.com.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_4016700