Dome rocked as Nomura pulls out

Dome’s future as a public venue is in doubt even if Legacy gets go-ahead

The closure of the Millennium Dome as a visitor attraction will be used in a last ditch attempt to raise ticket sales if the Government’s preferred bidder, Legacy, gets the go-ahead to buy the site.

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) responded to Nomura’s announcement that it is to withdraw its &£105m bid by saying that the prospect of the site closing to the public could boost ticket sales.

Nomura says it is pulling out after NMEC was unable to list the Dome’s assets.

It says many of the sponsors were in dispute with NMEC about ownership of items in their zones. According to a spokesman, McDonald’s, which owns a restaurant outside the Dome, claims to own the two buildings next to it, though NMEC disputes this, saying the buildings are Dome property.

However, a McDonald’s spokeswoman says: “The agreement regarding assets is clear and there’s no dispute over them.”

With Nomura out of the picture, there are currently no other plans on the table to maintain the Dome as a public venue. Legacy plans to convert the Dome into a business park, Knowledge City.

Sholto Douglas-Home, marketing director at the NMEC, says: “If the Dome is to close its doors to the public, it will have an impact on how we promote the exhibition in December.”

“It is beginning to look like the Dome will not be a visitor attraction next year and so we must see how we can use this.”

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