Vietnamese real estate developer Cotec Construction Joint Stock Co – known as CotecCons – has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ho Tram Project Co Ltd to “develop a series of new residential towers” on the latter’s 400-acre (162-hectare) site.
Ho Tram Project Co holds the investment certificate – issued by the Vietnamese government – for the Ho Tram Strip casino resort, a beachside gaming property 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
According to Wednesday’s release, CotecCons built the resort’s existing hotel tower – known as The Grand. The hotel and the casino opened in July 2013 – with 541 five-star rooms and permission for up to 90 gaming tables. Currently under Vietnamese law, the casino is only allowed to serve foreign players.
“This is an exciting new phase of a relationship that commenced more than seven years ago and sees us embark on a journey that takes us from client and contractor to partner and partner,” the chairman of CotecCons, Nguyen Ba Duong, was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s announcement.
The MOU signing ceremony (pictured) was held on Wednesday during the Ho Tram Open golf tournament staged at The Bluffs – the resort’s 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course that opened in October last year.
The proposed residential towers at the property will hold between 700 and 900 condominiums, said a press statement issued on Wednesday on behalf of the resort.
The real estate will be marketed to local and overseas investors, said the release. It did not mention a cost for the residential towers.
CotecCons is also working on a second hotel tower at the resort – which will have 559 rooms – and the development of some villas, added Wednesday’s statement.
Matthew Underwood, a spokesman for the Ho Tram Strip, told GGRAsia on November 9 that a firm completion date for the second hotel tower was still to be announced.
On November 6 it was revealed that Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, the main investor in the Ho Tram Strip, had confirmed its second US$50-million capital injection in the development over the past 14 months. A press statement that day from the Ho Tram Strip said the money would be spent on the second tower; some villas and luxury condominiums; the development of additional leisure amenities; and on the Ho Tram Open.
The capital injection was described as the second tranche of a total of US$100 million in fresh capital committed to the project by Harbinger, a firm founded by U.S.-based investor Philip Falcone.
Ho Tram Project Co is a unit of Asian Coast Development (Canada) Ltd, the company owning the Ho Tram Strip.
“We have to acknowledge the monumental role that CotecCons has played in the development of this property,” said Michael Kelly, executive chairman of Asian Coast Development, in Wednesday’s statement.
Vietnam media outlets reported in August last year that the country’s Ministry of Finance had completed a draft decree that could allow Vietnamese nationals to gamble in casinos at home.
The Vietnamese government should release in the first half of next year a new set of rules to promote the development of the country’s gaming industry, stated Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, an academic who says he is advising the government on liberalising Vietnam’s gaming industry.
The new rules would in likelihood halve the current US$4-billion minimum required capital investment for each of the country’s integrated resort licences and allow Vietnamese nationals to gamble at home, said the academic
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau