Las Vegas Sands has hit the jackpot by winning the bid to build Singapore’s first integrated resort, to be called The Marina Bay Sands.
It staved off fierce competition for the Marina Bay project from three other bidders – Genting International and Star Cruises, Harrah’s Entertainment and Keppel Land, and MGM Mirage along with CapitaLand.
The award of the project follows an in-depth two-stage bidding process which started in December 2004 and attracted 19 bids from consortiums in Australia, South Africa and the US.
The integrated resort will be a centrepiece of the Marina Bay landscape come 2009.
At a news conference on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar said that among the four bidders, Las Vegas Sands had committed the highest development investment of SGD 3.85 billion.
With the land price and associated capital cost, its total investment will exceed SGD 5 billion.
Said Prof Jayakumar, „Sands has submitted the best overall proposal that meets our economic tourism objective. In particular, the proposal will significantly strengthen Singapore’s position as a leading MICE destination and the proposal also possesses unique design elements that will provide a memorable image for Marina Bay.“
Sands, which owns The Venetian on The Strip and Sands Macau, is set to go big on conventions for its Marina project, setting aside enough convention space to host up to 54,000 delegates.
Its offer will also include an ArtScience museum, six signature restaurants with celebrity chefs and two theatres with a seating capacity of 2,000 each.
The operator has also pledged to provide over 10,000 jobs at the Singapore resort, with 75 percent of them going to the locals.
Sands also fulfilled the key criteria such as tourism appeal and architectural concept and design.
Said National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, „It also has several key attributes which make it stand out from among the proposals. First of all, the overall composition of the proposal fits very well with the existing and the future developments on the Bay.
„It has a unique architecture which provides an exciting addition to the Marina Bay, for example, the hotel towers are set back from the waterfront, it will open up expansive view to the city as well as to the entire Marina Bay. It’ll also make the Singapore skyline in the new downtown even more attractive and distinctive.“
Sands has support from City Developments, although the local property developer is not taking an equity stake in the project.
In a statement, Las Vegas Sands said it felt „honoured“ to have been picked to build and operate Singapore’s first integrated resort.
Group president and COO William Weidner said he was looking forward to now partnering the Singapore Government in enhancing the city-state’s status as one of the world’s great travel destinations.
Mr Weidner said, „We are confident we have the strengths and capabilities to achieve this mandate based on our unique ability to develop successful, iconic Integrated Resorts from the ground up.“
The next step will be ramping up its development plans to deliver on its promise of completing the entire project in 2009.