Tuesday, July 22, 2003 | 11:26 a.m.
The owner of Las Vegas' Venetian hotel-casino has hired a hotel investment services group and an internationally renowned architect to master-plan a strip of casinos, hotels and entertainment venues in the Chinese city of Macau.
Las Vegas Sands Inc. Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson said Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, a hotel investment services group based in Chicago, and architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Chicago, have been contracted to masterplan Macau's Cotai strip, which would include a scaled-down version of the Venetian as the strip's centerpiece.
Terms of the agreements with the consultants were not disclosed.
Plans for the strip of eight hotel-casinos were being unveiled in a hotel development conference in Singapore today.
"It is important that Macau know our long-term commitment to their community and the diversification and expansion of their business development by transforming Macau into the premier destination resort in Asia," Adelson said in a statement.
"We will create a Las Vegas-style strip in the heart of the territory in Cotai, anchored by Las Vegas Sands Inc.'s brand The Venetian Macau," Adelson said.
Officials with Jones Lang LaSalle, Adelson's real estate adviser, said the entire master plan of the Cotai strip would require an investment of between $5 billion and $10 billion.
Karen Johnson, a senior vice president in Jones Lang LaSalle's Los Angeles office, said today that her company was retained to attract other hotel companies to develop property on the Cotai strip. She said it would be up to the companies to negotiate lease agreements with the government of Macau, which owns the land.
Johnson said her company is approaching international hotel operators for the project and the Macau government is being flexible in its lease arrangements, negotiating terms longer than the standard 40-year leases.
Peter Barge, chief executive officer of Jones Lang LaSalle, Asia Pacific, said the first phase of development of the strip would include the previously announced Venetian Macau, a 1,500-suite replica of the Las Vegas property, including meeting and conference halls, a convention center, an arena, spa, shopping mall, casino, showrooms, theaters and restaurants. The project would take about 3 1/2 years to build.
Adelson's company also is developing a second property in Macau's existing casino district, to be known as the Las Vegas Sands. That property, located near the Macau ferry terminal, is scheduled to open in early 2004.
Las Vegas Sands Inc. is one of two new casino operators -- the other a company controlled by Steve Wynn -- that will compete with Hong Kong tycoon Stanley Ho, who until recently held a four-decade monopoly on gaming in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that was returned to China in 1999.
The Venetian Macau resort will be on reclaimed land between Macau's islands of Taipa and Coloane, and will be modeled after the company's Venetian hotel and resort in Las Vegas -- complete with imitation canals full of gondolas and singing gondoliers.
The Associated Press
contributed to this report.