Disneyland Inspired Coming to Baghdad; American Investors See Project as Opportunity to Help Economy and Stabilize Iraq
Teresa Neumann : Apr 26, 2008
Sonia Verma - The Times U.K.
Iraq to me is an open field. I have never in my life seen an opportunity with the potential that Iraq has with its skilled workforce and oil reserves...It's going to have a huge psychological impact. They'll see it as an opportunity for their children regardless if they're Shia or Sunni.
(Iraq)—Mr. Llewellyn Werner, chairman of C3 (a holding company for private equity firms in L.A.) is putting money and sweat behind his dream/business venture to develop a zoo and massive amusement park in Baghdad, on 50-acres of land adjacent to the Green Zone, that will include a concert theatre, museum, rides and a skateboard park. According to a Times U.K. report, it is being designed by the same firm that developed Disneyland. (Photo: The Times U.K.)
The site is reportedly on the same land that housed Baghdad's existing zoo, which was looted and abandoned in 2003, with only 35 of its original 700 animals surviving.
"The people need this kind of positive influence," said Werner. "It's going to have a huge psychological impact. I think people will embrace it. They'll see it as an opportunity for their children regardless if they're Shia or Sunni. They'll say their kids deserve a place to play and they'll leave it alone."
Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, agrees. "There is a shortage of entertainment in the city. Cinemas can't open. Playgrounds can't open. The fun park is badly needed for Baghdad. Children don't have any opportunities to enjoy their childhood."
The report states that the project will cost $500 million (£250 million) and will be managed by Iraqis. General David Petraeus is said to be a big supporter of the project which will also aid in getting Iraqi factories back up and running.
"Iraq to me is an open field," said Werner. "I have never in my life seen an opportunity with the potential that Iraq has with its skilled workforce and oil reserves."