• Okada Manila to open by Dec

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    TIGER Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. is set to open the 44-hectare integrated casino and resort complex Okada Manila by December this year, a top company official said on Thursday.

    Steve Wolstenholme, president of Tiger Resorts, said in a roundtable on Thursday that the company has now finished 80 percent of the construction of Okada Manila’s Phase 1 development.

    The company had earlier announced a planned soft opening in November this year, reiterated by Wolstenholme on Thursday, who said they are on track with the promise to open the casino resort “within this year.”

    Peter Witt, vice president of Tiger Resorts’ Facility Management, told The Manila Times a realistic opening will be in December. “In December, by the end of the year,” Witt said.

    The first 21.55 hectares of the resort are already being developed for Phase 1, which will be offered to the public by the soft opening later this year.

    Gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada has invested $2.4 billion for the first phase development of Okada Manila, which is double the size of the usual $1 billion initial investment by its competitors.

    The Phase 1 development consists of two Y-shaped hotel towers with 993 rooms, ranging from 45 square meters (sqm) up to 1,400 sqm villas; the first and largest indoor night club and beach club in Asia; a 41,000-sqm casino area with 500 table games and 3,000 electronic games; 21 outlets for various food and beverages brands; 8,409-sqm gross leasing area of high-end retail stores; a 3,000-sqm spa; and one of the world’s largest dancing fountains, which cost $30 million to build.

    Wolstenholme said the group is also moving toward the development of Phase 2, which is “mostly retail,” and that Phase 3 and 4 are still “conceptual” as of the moment.

    Tiger Resort officials said Okada Manila currently employs 19,000 workers to construct and develop the first phase and is expected to hire 8,000 personnel to operate the casinos, food and beverage, and hotel and leisure facilities of the Phase 1 development alone.

    Wolstenholme said the group is committed to a “long-term” investment in the Philippines, which he said has enjoyed an average 7 percent economic growth in the past five years.

    “The Philippines has grown 7 percent. Where there is potential, it is in the Philippines. It is here where we have most opportunities globally . . . We have a certain amount of passion to continue growth, and just being a part of that growth is good,” he said.

    “We know we’re here in the long term. We see long-term growth here. It’s a $2.4-billion investment in the first phase, and we have confidence it’s a worthy investment,” he added.

    Okada Manila is the third of four integrated resort and casino hubs rising in the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp’s (Pagcor) Entertainment City. Two other complexes in Entertainment City are Enrique Razon’s Solaire & Resort Casino and the SM Group’s City of Dreams Manila, while the Andrew Tan group is also building the fourth integrated hub, Westside City.

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