Robert De Niro is the latest Hollywood figure eyeing a bite of China’s booming economy. But the star is not prepping a movie on the mainland, instead he’s developing Project 179, an 850,000-square-foot complex in the heart of the Shanghai financial district. De Niro and his BD Hotels partners Ira Drukier and Richard Born are teaming with Empire Global Ventures, Amerasia S&T Corp, Douglas Elliman and Tribeca Enterprises to establish a major hospitality, dining and cultural destination on Nanjing Road in the waterfront Bund area. The complex, designed to reflect classic 1920’s Shanghai, will include a five-star boutique hotel, retail space, multiple restaurants led by well-known U.S. chefs, a cultural performance center and a multiplex. It’s due to open in 2016. De Niro’s new venture will be a neighbor of entrepreneur Bruno Wu’s Pinewood Chinawood studio base which will also be housed along the Bund.

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