D-Day For Genting's Sentosa Plan

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Dec 08 2006
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The Singapore Tourism Board said in a statement that the government would announce the successful bid at a media conference which will start at 5.30pm today, 8-Dec-2006. A panel of government ministers will award the 30-year concession to run the integrated resort based on criteria such as the tourism and architectural appeal of each proposal.

Genting International, the international investment arm of Genting Berhad (GENTING, stock-code : 3182) has earlier expressed confident of winning a bid to operate Singapore’s second casino resort from its Singapore Government.

The three bidders for the resort are:
  • Genting International which is partnering Universal Studios
  • Bahamas-based Kerzner International teamed with Singapore’s CapitaLand
  • Las Vegas company Eighth Wonder teamed up with Melco International Development, as well as the Banyan Tree group and Starwood hotel chain.

Genting International’s pitch is for a development called “Resorts World at Sentosa” which includes a $1.6b Universal Studios theme-park and 6 world-class hotels including one by American architect Michael Graves who plans to create a 460-room boutique hotel called The Michael Hotel.

Universal Studios will be in charge of the design of the theme park’s area, while a core six-man team from Michael Graves & Associates will look into the design of the casino area which is expected to be enclosed with no natural light for a “discreet” yet “open” design.

“We believe Genting will be viewed as having greater market knowledge given it is the only bidder to have operated in Asia. Its Universal theme park component offers a clearly branded tourism strategy,” said Merrill Lynch analyst Sean Monaghan.

Kerzner and CapitaLand have submitted plans to have 34 F&B outlets in its resort, taking up 21,000 square metres of gross floor area including restaurants run by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa. There will also be an Aquaventure waterscape park that will feature river rides powered by new technology, pools and fish habitats like the shark and stingray lagoons.

The consortium suffered a setback in October when Kerzner chief executive Howard “Butch” Kerzner, 42, was killed in a helicopter crash in the Dominican Republic.

The bid by Eighth Wonder is for a development called Harry’s Island with a coral reef lagoon called Ocean Planet, a football stadium with a football-themed hotel, and a sports school run by coaches chosen by top Brazilian player Pelé, as well as themed development areas backed by familiar names such as wedding designer Vera Wang, well-being guru Deepak Chopra and spa group Banyan Tree.

Genting Group earlier lost a bid for the first casino licence in Singapore to Las Vegas gaming giant Sands, but analysts believe the Malaysian group stands the strongest chance in winning the Sentosa project.

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