Dubai's iconic Metropolitan Hotel will close on March 15 to make way for a new hotel complex valued at $1.3bn, the Al Habtoor Group has said.
The hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, which opened in February 1979, will be officially closed next week and demolition work is set to start in April, Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group said in a statement.
"Though I am sad to part with the Metropolitan, because it is full of fond memories... I am very excited to witness the completion of Habtoor Palace, and to see what it will add to our country's landmarks," he said at an event to mark the closing of the Metropolitan.
"Sheikh Rashid had a great vision for Dubai and knew what Sheikh Zayed Road would become which is why he gave me that land."
The construction of the new hotel will start in April, and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
"Many of the Metropolitan Hotel's outlets such as Red Lion and Don Corleone will be brought back in the new property so we're not saying goodbye to our guests. This is just an interruption in a long relationship which we hope to resume in the years to come and to continue for a long time," Al Habtoor added.
"It is true that we are demolishing one of Dubai's historic landmarks, but it will be replaced by another bigger landmark for the future."
Dubai’s Al Habtoor Group in January announced plans to demolish the Metropolitan Hotel and redevelop the area into a tourism complex in a plan valued at $1.3bn.
The conglomerate, one of the UAE’s largest, said it would build three luxury hotels and a string of tourist attractions including a theatre to stage Broadway-style shows.
The complex will include a shopping arcade, a tennis and sports academy and themed restaurants.