The complex is to be built near Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower. Architectural elements are now being finalised and work will begin soon, said AFP.
Dubai is heavily in debt having borrowed to finance its rapid economic growth. This stopped abruptly when international finance dried up. Dubai's total debt is estimated at more than 100 billion dollars.
In 2008, Dubai announced plans to build a series of cultural projects, such as libraries, theatres and museums and an opera house, but the projects never saw the light. Neighbouring Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, is building a huge cultural complex on Saadiyat Island, which will host branches of the Guggenheim, the Louvre and Zayed National Museum.
The Gulf region has been the site of a cultural boom over the past few years with the Arabian Peninsula's only opera house, The Royal Opera House of Oman, opening last October.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.