Belle Corporation‘s new partnership with Melco Crown Entertainment has been quite the conversation piece over the past few days. One topic that has been much discussed is how the new partnership will affect the timeline for Belle Grande, the entertainment complex that is now under joint development between the two companies.
Initially pegged to open in the first half of 2013, Belle Grande has a new opening timetable – the fourth quarter of 2013 – thanks to Melco’s entry into the picture led by Australian tycoon James Packer and his Macau counterpart, Lawrence Ho. In a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Belle vice chairman Willy Ocier confirmed the new schedule, even alluding to the involvement capacity of its new partners. “Melco will improve on our design and concepts,” Ocier said.
More importantly, the Macau-based company will also invest up to $580 million into the project, money that will be divided into cash, cash flow and debt financing.
Belle Corp and its subsidiary, Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc, have agreed to negotiate a consortium agreement with Melco, one that calls for the “leasing, development, operation and management of certain parcels of land, including the development of the building structure and shell of a grand casino and hotel complex”. Certain conditions have to also be met in order for the consortium agreement to be finalized, including the registration of the project site as a tourism economic zone by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.
With the new timetable, it’s all but assured that Belle Grande won’t be able to beat out Enrique Razon Jr.’s Solaire Manila as the first integrated resort and casino complex to open in Pagcor’s Entertainment City project.
Nevertheless, Belle Grande is still expected to be a world-class complex that will be one of the four casinos to rise in Entertainment City. Together with Razon’s Solaire Manila, two other complexes are expected to be built by Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group and Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment.
Belle Grande is set to rise on more than six hectares (12,123.71 square meters) of land at the Aseana Business Park in Parañaque City. Upon completion, the resort and casino is expected to have more than 800 rooms, a total gaming area of 1.8 hectares, a ton of luxury retail stores, and food and beverage establishments. Initial design plans call for the building of six towers – two L-shaped hotel towers and four “condotel” towers – each standing nine storey’s high.