By  on May 15, 2007

Versace marked the groundbreaking of its Palazzo Versace Hotel and Condominiums resort in Dubai on Friday with an event at the Mina A'Salam hotel on the shores of the Arabian Gulf.

The company unveiled a model of the resort, located within an area that will include a museum of contemporary art, a port and walkway, and a zone designated for cultural performances. A group of archival Gianni Versace opera dresses were specially flown over from Milan for the gala evening — a first for the Middle East.

Giancarlo Di Risio, Versace's chief executive, defined the project as "wholly in keeping with the pioneering spirit of its founder, Gianni Versace. He was a true visionary and blurred the boundaries between fashion and interior design."

Upon completion, slated for 2009, Palazzo Versace in Dubai will include 215 suites, restaurants and a day spa. The resort, which will cover 1.4 million square feet and will include two Imperial suites spanning over 13,000 square feet, will be furnished with Versace's home collection. The hotel will feature a Neoclassical facade resembling Versace's Via Gesù headquarters in Milan. As reported, the Dubai property will cost 1 billion Australian dollars, or $764.7 million at current exchange, to complete.

There will also be 188 condominium residences as part of the luxury resort.

Santo Versace, chairman of the company, Cindy Crawford and Soheil Abedian, managing director of Emirates Sunland Group, the company behind the Palazzo Versace development, were also present at the event, together with Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi, a member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Sharjah and chairman of Emirates Investment Group. In November, Versace and Sunland Group said they planned to roll out 14 Palazzo Versace resorts around the world over the next 15 to 30 years.

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