Demolition work on Dubai’s Metropolitan Hotel begins today as contractors move in to begin clearing the site for a new US$1.3bn complex that will contain three hotels and a string of attractions, including a theatre to stage Broadway-style shows. A closing ceremony for the 34-year old Metropolitan hotel was held last week – and the hotel closed for business yesterday. Contractors Al Rashid Demolition were scheduled to move in on site today to begin the initial strip out of loose items before starting on the removal of recyclable and salvageable materials in April. Building demolition work is expected to begin in June. Developers the Al Habtoor Group expect that by the end of the year contractors Habtoor-Leighton will have excavated the site of the new complex and neighbouring underground car park and ground level garden area. The complex is scheduled to open by the end of 2015. The Al Habtoor Group is currently in discussions with hotel operators over plans for the three hotels which are designed to cater for luxury, lifestyle and business clients. The complex will have a selection of entertainment, shopping, bars and themed restaurants designed to cater for a broad range of clients. The complex also includes a tennis and sports academy, ballroom and theatre. During the closing ceremony last week, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, Khalaf Al Habtoor said, “Though I am sad to part with the Metropolitan, because it is full of fond memories, and I am sure it is the same for all our guests here tonight. I am very excited to witness the completion of Habtoor Palace, and to see what it will add to our country’s landmarks”. “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 good-bye 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.” “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.” The Al Habtoor group, while sad to part with their first venture, are eager to start the new project saying: “This is not an end; this is the rebirth of a great monument”.