MANILA, July 30 (Reuters) - Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp and its Filipino partner will build apartments, office towers and even an opera house alongside their $2 billion casino-resort project in the Philippine capital, Manila, once the gaming phase is completed.
Filipino businessman Antonio Cojuangco, a relative of President Benigno Aquino, said on Thursday he was joining the development and operations of the non-gaming portion of the Manila Bay Resorts.
“I can’t match their resources but definitely I want to be part of their group,” Cojuangco told reporters after a topping-off ceremony at the Manila Bay Resorts, referring to the investment of Universal, owned by slot-machine billionaire Kazuo Okada, through Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc.
In January, Cojuangco bought the entire 40 percent stake of Universal in a holding firm that owns the land on which the Manila Bay Resorts is being built, resolving a problem over foreign land ownership.
Cojuangco said his All Seasons Hotels & Resorts Corp would help develop hotels, high-rise residential towers and office buildings, plus the opera house.
“The plans for that should start sometime next year because by then, they will be inside the casino finishing it,” Cojuangco said.
Tiger Resorts is seeking to extend a deadline to finish the casino-resort development in December 2016, a year later than planned.
“I think when he (Okada) is finished with the construction of the first phase, I would really love to start on the development of the rest of the land which is 30 hectares (74.13 acres),” Cojuangco said.
There is also a plan to list the casino or the real estate project, or both, in the long run, he said.
The 44-hectare Manila Bay Resorts will be the third casino-resort to open in Entertainment City, Manila’s scaled-down version of the Las Vegas gaming strip.
Bloomberry Resorts Corp has already started operations, as has the tandem of local firm Belle Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
Alliance Global Group Inc and Genting Hong Kong Ltd , partners in casino-hotel company Travellers International Group Inc, will complete the $1.1 billion Phase 1 of its Resorts World Bayshore project in 2018. (Reporting By Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alan Raybould)