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BETHESDA, MD-Marriott International, Nickelodeon and Miller Global Properties LLC have launched a new lodging resort brand and concept: Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott. Plans call for the trio to develop 20 new family-friendly resorts, under this brand, globally by 2020.

Miller Global, which will have certain exclusive rights to develop and own the resorts in specified geographic areas, will seed an investment fund that will initially provide $300 million of dedicated development equity capital. “That is the initial seed money,” explains a Marriott spokesman. “As we go forward and additional locations are identified there will be additional investments possible over time,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Marriott will manage all of the Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott properties. A unit of Viacom International’s MTV Networks, Nickelodeon is providing its brand and entertainment — specifically its kid-friendly content — to the deal.

As an example of the trio’s plans, a signature feature in all of the resorts will be live entertainment programs featuring such costumed Nickelodeon characters as Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

“We are proud to have brought Nickelodeon and Marriott together, and are looking forward to the development of this new hotel concept,” says Eyal Ofer, co-chairman of Miller Global, in a statement. “The Marriott and Nickelodeon partnership provides an extremely compelling investment opportunity by pairing the hotel industry leader with the top kids’ entertainment brand.”

The companies are not only targeting families but also business groups that want an informal and fun atmosphere.

The first Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott property is slated to be a 650-room resort at Liberty Station in San Diego. It will incorporate a 100,000-sf water park and activity deck complex featuring a variety of pools and interactive attractions — just as the other resorts will when they are built. The San Diego resort is expected to break ground in January 2008 and open in 2010. Gensler is the architectural firm designing the project.

Studio Nick — a main stage theater space that will anchor the resorts’ live entertainment programs and allow for the concurrent staging of several different live productions for resort guests – is another feature that all the resorts will have. Studio Nick can also serve as a platform for daytime meeting events. The hotels will offer facilities accommodating two 300-person groups, and incorporating 30,000 sf of meeting space as well as business services.

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