Work to revamp the Macau casino resort complex Sands Cotai Central as “The Londoner Macao” has started, a senior executive of Sands China Ltd confirmed to GGRAsia on Tuesday.
Hoardings have been put up in an atrium area on the ground floor of Sands Cotai Central, at the Holiday Inn tower end of the building. The hoardings feature the famous red-circle logo of the London Underground system and a life-size image of an escalator and stairway for the famous “Tube”, with a sign in English and Chinese saying “Next stop, London”.
“That is for the conversion of… The Londoner Macao hotel,” said Wilfred Wong Ying Wai, president and chief operating officer of Sands China. His remarks were made on the sidelines of a Tuesday press preview for a charity event – “Light The Night Run 2019” – relating to the firm’s Parisian Macao property across the Cotai Strip from Sands Cotai Central.
Mr Wong said the hoardings at Sands Cotai Central were specifically related to the Holiday Inn Macao tower, but didn’t clarify whether part of that hotel was now closed to the public. Room bookings for Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central were still available on the resort’s website as of Wednesday.
Part of the exterior next to the entrance of Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central also had hoardings in place as of Tuesday.
In October last year, Las Vegas Sands Corp – Sands China’s parent – said the group was to double the amount it previously announced it would invest in renovating some of its Cotai infrastructure in the next few years. The company said it would spend US$2.2 billion in investment in Macau, including rebranding the Sands Cotai Central property as The Londoner Macao.
“We remain confident in the future opportunity in Macau and are progressing with our investments in the Four Seasons Tower Suites Macao, St. Regis Tower Suites Macao and The Londoner Macao,” said Las Vegas Sands’ chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson in prepared remarks issued with the fourth-quarter 2018 results of the group in January.
Robert Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, has addressed concerns over the disruption caused by the revamp works at Sands Cotai Central during the firm’s fourth quarter earnings call.
“It’s [The Londoner Macao] going to be a magnificent success story that we’ll be opening probably late 2020. It’s under way already. It’s a big challenge. We’re taking a 1,200-room hotel [Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central] and making into a 600 rooms all-suite hotel in The Londoner. There will be some disruption,” Mr Goldstein remarked during the call, noting however that he could not “quantify” this disruption.
“We will not lose a table game or a slot machine in the portfolio. We have the ability to transfer assets in the Sands Cotai Central as well as on to other gaming floors if need be,” Mr Goldstein noted in the call.
“Yes, there’ll be some disruption. We recognise that. Perhaps that EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation] will transfer along those gaming assets to other properties in the portfolio and limit that disruption. But in the end, if you’re a long-term thinker, you want to make money for long-term, this is a game changer for us,” the Las Vegas Sands president said at the time.
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