he approval clears the way for the company to receive construction approval, a process that is likely to take a few months at least.
According to the official gazette, the plot granted covers an area of 70,468 square metres. The company will pay the government a total premium of us$ 269 million for the land. It has already paid us$ 98.1 million for the land premium. SJM first filed its request in 2006.
“We believe SJM will be in a position to begin heavy construction sometime towards the end of 2013,” Union Gaming Research Macau said in a note to investors on Wednesday. “This would then suggest an opening in line with what management has previously communicated, namely late 2016 or early 2017.”
The project was announced in October last year and includes a five-star hotel, a gaming venue and car park. Currently, all gaming operators have been granted land in Cotai.
SJM’s plot is the smallest of all the gaming operators. However, early this week, the operator’s chief executive Ambrose So Shu Fai announced that SJM will combine land and resources with the company’s director Angela Leong On Kei, to build a Cotai casino resort more than three times the size it originally planned.
At 70,500 square meters, SJM’s plot is the smallest among the new projects. Ms Leong already has a land concession gazetted by the government for a 180,000-square metre plot near Macau Dome on Cotai, to build a family-focused, non-gaming resort. Mr So said he expected that SJM’s Cotai project could break ground this year and be completed by “between 2016 and 2017”.
Macau’s largest casino operator said last week that the resort could be three times larger than originally announced once negotiations are concluded with Director Angela Leong to combine land and resources she controls in the area.
SJM said it expects to have an agreement with Ms Leong by early next year.