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De Niro to develop massive project in Shanghai

Robert De Niro
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Robert De Niro

The Raging Bull is bullish on China.

Robert De Niro and his real estate partners recently signed a deal to develop an 850,000-square-foot retail, hotel and entertainment destination in Shanghai's historic Bund district. Known as Project 179, it will feature a boutique hotel, restaurants, shops and, of course, a cultural center and movie theater.

"I am looking forward to helping realize the Bund as one of the premier visitor destinations across the globe," De Niro said in a press release. "By ensuring a design that reflects the vibrant history of Shanghai, Project 179 can serve as a jewel in its crowd: ushering in a bright future while paying homage to its rich and storied past."

(Read more: China's answer to cheap housing: paint-on windows?)

Slated to open in 2016, Project 179 will comprise five buildings, four of them currently vacant and a fifth to be built. Its name comes from the Shanghai government's official designation for the block of land—on a stretch of Nanjing Road along the Huangpu River—on which the development will be built, according to a press release.

De Niro, famous for his roles as Travis Bickle ("Taxi Driver"), Jake La Motta ("Raging Bull") and a young Vito Corleone ("Godfather II"), was involved in developing the Greenwich and Bowery hotels in New York.

The developers have not yet chosen an architect for the project, but said the develop will be designed to "reflect classic 1920s Shanghai."

—By Craig Giammona, Special to CNBC.com

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