Singapore Closes Bidding for 2nd Casino
The four groups that put up the $100,000 fee to the Singapore Tourism Board were Malaysia's Genting Group; Harrah's Entertainment (NYSE: HET) with Keppel Land – a local Singapore company; Kerzner International Ltd. along with its Singapore partner CapitaLand; and Eighth Wonder, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT) and Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (NYSE: ISLE).
Each of the companies must enter their complete bids by October 10. The area in which the new integrated resort will be built is on Sentosa, a 49-hectare site on which the government and the Singapore Tourism Board would like to see a multi-faceted project mixing casino gaming with family-focused activities in order to boost tourism among many demographics.
So far Harrah’s and Keppel Land are keeping their plans hush hush, but other companies are releasing tentative plans for the site in order to help woo support for their side.
Kerzner and CapitaLand are banking on world-renowned architect Frank Gehry to create a design which would create the appeal to win the site bid. Kerzner, whose company has developed such properties as Atlantis in the Bahamas said he is looking to create an unforgettable image with the design of this property. “We envisage for Sentosa a creation that will bring the world under its spell – it will be Singapore’s icon, establishing Sentosa as a significant family destination resort. We consider having Frank join us as architect for the project a great coup," Kerzner said.
Gehry is looking to build a resort that is reflective of the nation’s culture. “Singapore is a unique and diverse society in a very beautiful setting. Singapore’s experience in planning and in the management of the environment is exemplary. The site at Sentosa is like a jewel that needs to be treated gently and respectfully and I am honored to be participating in this project,” Gehry said.
For its bid Eighth Wonder, which created the famed Las Vegas property New York-New York said it will design a getaway featuring a mix of a casino with hotels, restaurants, nightlife and retail, but won’t yet reveal the exact nature of its plans. The company has boasted publicly that it thinks it can get 10 million visitors a year to visit its integrated resort.
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"Feature films are good example of family entertainment. Certainly live attractions, theme parks that have family appeal. It could also be things as simple as restaurants selections and retail and the kind of hospitality that you invent and deliver,” said Eighth Wonder’s Chairman Mark Advent. "It's not necessarily one item. It's a whole array of options that would create a more diverse offerings."
The Genting International-Star Cruises consortium has made one of the most talked about announcements to date. While there will be a focus on a casino, the company is teaming with Universal Parks & Resorts to bring a branch of the theme park to Sentosa if its bid is selected.
Genting representatives have said the theme park would be much larger in scale than its existing Los Angeles park and contain many thrill rides and attractions to create a multi-day experience.
Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Parks & Resorts, said: “Together, Genting International, Star Cruises and Universal have excellent track records in the hospitality, gambling, leisure and theme park entertainment industries. The three companies have deep and broad expertise in design, operations and marketing of location-based entertainment, hotels, theme parks, resorts and cruises, all of which can be leveraged upon to bring in tourists to Singapore for decades into the future.“
The winning bid for Singapore’s first casino was announced last month and was given to Las Vegas Sands corp, which owns the Venetian in Las Vegas. The integrated resort, will cost an estimated US $3.6 billion to develop. The property will include a 2,500 room hotel, 1.2 million square feet of flexible meetings, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) space, one million square feet of retail space, three large entertainment venues and a casino. The casino will sit on a 50.9-acre waterfront site with a skyline view of city’s downtown. The resort is scheduled to open in 2009 and LVS will have the opportunity to run the gleaming gaming palace for a minimum of 30 years.
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