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The BBC's Robert Hall reports
"The countdown to closure and sale has begun"
 real 28k

Monday, 17 January, 2000, 18:34 GMT
Dome's future up for grabs

Millennium Dome Potential home to a theme park or sports arena

A 400m theme park promising more fun rides than Disneyland Paris and a major sports stadium are among shortlisted proposals for the future of the Millennium Dome.

The two schemes are among six projects selected by the government from a list of 10 outline proposals for the final stages of a competition to find a sustainable future use for the Dome.

The schemes were unveiled in a written answer in the House of Commons on Monday.

The make-up of the shortlist shows the Dome has a commercially sustainable future
Lord Falconer, government minister in charge of the Dome

The proposals have been put together by six consortia comprising major UK and international developers and operators.

The government is expected to decide in the summer which one will take over the Dome when the New Millennium Experience Company's licence expires .

The Millennium Experience on 31 December, when the interior attractions will be dismantled to make way for the Dome's new owners.

Sustainable future

Dome Legacy
City of the Future - theme park focusing on technology
Sports Dome 2001
Dome Europe - hi-tech leisure, business and retail destination
Greenwich Media World - leisure and business destination
International Merchandise and Cultural Centre
Legacy - hi-tech campus of workspace, leisure and retail uses
Lord Falconer, the government minister with responsibility for the Dome, said:

"All the bids we considered were of a very high quality, reflecting the weight which the market attaches to this opportunity."

The bidders are a mixture of major developers and operators, in the United Kingdom and in the international market.

"The make-up of the shortlist we have published today shows that the Dome has a commercially sustainable future," Lord Falconer said.

Local feedback

More detailed information will now be sought from the six remaining bidding consortia. It is expected that two, or at most three, of the bids will be chosen to develop their proposals in full detail before a winner is chosen by ministers.

The government initially received 70 approaches from interested bidders, then 22 formal expressions of interest and 10 outline proposals.

The 10 outlines have already been displayed in Greenwich - the home of the Dome - and Stratford, east London and local groups have provided feedback on the projects.

Liberal Democrat London mayor candidate Susan Kramer said she was "yet to be convinced" that any of the bids would match "the expectations of Londoners".

Corporate muscle

"If we are to make the best of London's enormous white elephant then the Government should wait until the mayor is elected before deciding on plans for the Dome," she said.

The money from the City of the Future project will come from South African leisure firm Monex and MEPC, with backing from Whitbread, Microsoft, Nortel, Cisco, 3Com and Laing.

Property company Chelsfield are the force behind Sports Dome 2001, supported by investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, accountants Price WaterhouseCoopers, Ogden Entertainment and BSkyB.

Builders Sir Robert McAlpine and The Tussauds Group are backing the Greenwich Media World, supported by Hyatt Hotels and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Japanese finance group Nomura are putting their money behind the Dome Europe scheme while a consortium of South African and Malaysian businessmen are behind the International Merchandise and Culture Centre.

Legacy plc is a consortium made up of Robert Bourne, Lifschuz Davidson and Richard Ellis St Quintain.

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See also:
09 Jan 00 |  UK
Media 'Dome vendetta' attacked
01 Jan 00 |  UK
Thumbs up for Dome
04 Jan 00 |  UK
Queues mar Dome's opening days
08 Jan 00 |  UK
The Dome's embattled dame
09 Jan 00 |  Business
Dome 'to be sold for 100m'

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