Monday, 15 June 2009

Manila's Pagcor City seen to draw $6B in investments

SM expected to pour in $1B
Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines - The state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. expects the infusion of $6 billion worth of fresh investments into the development of the 800-hectare entertainment complex on Roxas Boulevard.

The SM group, one of the big investors in the “Pagcor City” project, is now finalizing plans for its piece of the gaming and entertainment complex, Pagcor chair Efraim Genuino said in an interview.

Genuino expects the SM group to pour in “more or less” $1 billion.

SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) recently added a fifth division to focus on the burgeoning hotel and tourism business. Its other core interests are retailing, shopping mall development, banking and condominium development.

SMIC is among the local and foreign investorsworking on Pagcor City. Other big investors that have committed to the project are property tycoon Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group Inc., in partnership with the Genting group’s Star Cruises Ltd., and Aruze Corp. of Japan, the financier of casino bigwig Steve Wynn.

According to Genuino, Pagcor is now finalizing all the documentation needed to be able to work on the reclaimed land in Manila so that the investors may start working on their respective sites. He said Aruze would infuse around $3 billion to the project.

He said the investors would ride on Pagcor’s license, while the gaming firm would be entitled to a 25-percent share of gross income from the project.

Genuino also said that casinos would constitute only a small part of the entertainment complex.

“There will be about three casinos, but they will only be about 3 percent of the development,” Genuino said. “The bulk would be (devoted to) entertainment, such as for Warner Brothers.”

The government aims to attract 10 million foreign visitors to Pagcor City within five years.

The vision is for Pagcor City to become the “Macau” or “Las Vegas” of the Philippines, offering an array of arcades, white beaches and lagoons, shopping malls, hotels, specialty restaurants, wellness centers/spas, cultural center, sports arena and theme parks.

For instance, the project aims to put up a simulated winter park with skating and skiing facilities, as well as a Marina complex.

Likewise planned is the establishment of an observation tower offering a panoramic view of Manila, which is targeted to be the tallest in the world.

The Pagcor City development is expected to be built in phases, eventually attracting over $10 billion in foreign direct investments.

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