A deal between Melco Crown and the Philippine developer Belle Corp. was completed last month in which the partnership will develop an integrated resort valued at more than billion in Manila’s Entertainment City, a casino development sponsored by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).
Design has been completed and construction is under way for the Belle Grande Manila Bay, but the developers recently postponed the debut to 2013. The deal is Melco Crown’s first development outside of Macau, where it operates the Altira and City of Dreams casino resorts, and expects to begin construction on Studio City, a project it bought controlling interest in late last year.
Belle Corp. is controlled by the Philippines’ richest man, Henry Sy. Discussions with Melco began several months ago and were finalized in early July. Melco Crown says it will invest no more than $580 million in the project in a combination of cash, cash flow and debt financing. A statement by the company said a credit facility of $320 million “may” be made available for the project.
Melco Crown is controlled by Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho, and James Packer, son of “super whale” and Australian media mogul, the late Kerry Packer.
Belle will turn over the remaining construction of the project to Melco, which will also manage the property when it opens. Asia Pacific Group, led by former Galaxy COO Ciaran Carruthers, which had previously been retained to manage the property by Leisure & Resorts World Corp., will maintain a role at the property and also be free to develop other Philippine gaming ventures.
Other developers in Entertainment City include Enrique Razon’s Solaire, which will be managed by former Las Vegas Sands executives Bill Weidner and Brad Stone and two others controlled by Malaysia’s Genting bhd, and Japan’s Universal Entertainment, owned by Kazuo Okada.