Villars eye casino resort project
The family of the country’s richest man, former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., has proposed to build an integrated resort and casino in Las Piñas.
Through Prime Asset Ventures Inc. (PAVI), which is led by the tycoon’s son Manuel Paolo Villar, the group has proposed to build the gaming complex called “Gold Coast Entertainment City” on a 10- to 15-hectare site along C5 extension in Barangay Manuyo 2. Paolo is also president of Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc.
The proposed casino will be developed and operated by PAVI and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary Vertex Entertainment and Resorts Corp.
“The project will include a casino complex, hotels, food and beverage and retail outlets and entertainment centers,” PAVI president Teodulo San Juan Jr. and Vertex president Caroline Cadelina said in a letter to Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda Aguilar dated April 4, or about a month before the mid-term elections. Aguilar won her reelection bid.
The city council is expected to conduct a hearing on PAVI’s request for a nonobjection clearance to the Villars’ Gold Coast project.
“Gold Coast Entertainment will be strategically located near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, thus easily accessible to gaming tourists,” San Juan said.
“The integrated resort and casino will be designed to convey a resort-like atmosphere. Accommodations and attractions will include nontraditional options to target a younger demographic of gamers and entertainment seekers,” the letter said.
The same letter said Vertex was “authorized to engage in gaming.”
“PAVI, Vertex and key contractor-partners have, among them, the resources, experience and capability to master plan, develop, ensure the completion of and operate the proposed Gold Coast Entertainment City,” the letter said.
The Villar family is one of the groups that was able to obtain a gaming license before President Duterte imposed a moratorium on new casino applications. But based on earlier reports, Villar was planning to put up a gaming complex in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
The group of Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy and tycoon John Gokongwei have also obtained a gaming license before the moratorium.
In Metro Manila, among the big operating privately owned gaming hubs are Resorts World Manila of Travellers International Hotel Group, a partnership between tycoon Andrew Tan and the Genting group of Malaysia; Solaire Resort & Casino of tycoon Enrique Razon’s Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and Okada Manila of Tiger Resorts Leisure & Entertainment.
Manuel Villar, a former seafood vendor from Tondo who built a fortune out of property development, retired from politics to focus on growing his business empire after losing his presidential bid in 2010. His wife, reelectionist Sen. Cynthia Villar, topped the recent senatorial elections.
Based on Forbes Magazine’s 2019 list of the wealthiest people on the planet, Villar is now the richest person in the Philippines with an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion.
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