MANILA, Philippines?Belle Corp. expects to start operations of its $750-million casino complex near Manila Bay ? a new project that will transform it from an upscale property developer to a premier gaming and leisure estate company ? by the first quarter of 2013.
The soft opening of ?Belle Grande Manila Bay? has been scheduled for the second quarter of 2012, but as it will take more time to finish the rooms, full operations may start in early 2013 or Christmas next year at the earliest, Belle vice chair Willy Ocier said on the sidelines of the company?s annual stockholders? meeting late Thursday.
Belle itself plans to deploy about $550 million for the development of the casino, hotel, condotel and theater complex, while its partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) will contribute $200 million for casino fit-out and working capital. The integrated gaming resort complex, between Macapagal Avenue and Roxas Boulevard, will offer 19,626 square meters of gaming space.
The first floor will be devoted to the mass market while 6,000 sq.m. will be reserved for VIP gamers.
It will have 350 tables and 1,900 slot machines.
The facility will also include six hotel towers with a combined 1,000 rooms, including 88 luxury suites.
The six-star all-suites hotel will be the first one to open, Ocier said, adding that Belle has tapped the Raintree group to manage the all-suites hotel portion.
?We have chosen the Raintree group, which is behind the Discovery brand, because they are very respected in the industry. They are homegrown and they are involved with us presently as consultant in hotels and F&B (food and beverage) operations,? Ocier said.
The first hotel tower is a five star all-suites hotel targeting VIP and junket gaming customers.
Tower 2 will be a four- or five-star hotel targeting mass gaming.
Belle is talking to other prospective hotel operators to manage the other hotels, Ocier said.
The casino will be 100-percent owned by Belle?s subsidiary Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc. (PLAI), which was earlier acquired from the SM group via a share-swap deal that, in turn, gave the family of tycoon Henry Sy a 66-percent interest in Belle.
LWRC and affiliate AB Leisure Global Inc. (ABGLI), which together will contribute $200 million to the project, will be entitled to half of the cash flow (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) from Belle Grande Manila Bay?s gaming operations.
Belle Grande will be run by APG Casino & Gaming Consultants, a group managing five casinos in Macau with 20 years of experience dealing with VIP casino operations in Asia.