he soon-to-be-inaugurated MGM China’s USD 3.4 billion resort on the Cotai Strip will boast 1,390 hotel rooms and almost 31,000 square feet of meeting space, and is expected to considerably increase the number of MGM’s employees in the former Portuguese colony known for its string of high-profile casinos.
In figures, over 6,000 people are currently employed by MGM China, the division co-chaired by billionaire Pansy Ho Chiu-king, the daughter of gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun. Out of those 6,000 employees, 75 per cent are from Macau. According to press releases by MGM, the mega development in Cotai will double that number.
"After 5 years under construction, MGM Cotai could create leasing demand for between 500 and 1,000 units from casino staff", said Thomas Lam, head of Valuation and Consultancy at Knight Frank in Hong Kong. “The demand will come from the soon-to-be opened resort’s operational staff, such as expatriate managers who usually come from Las Vegas in the US, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia,” he said.
With expatriate staff accounting for one third of the casino’s workforce, all new or semi-new developments in Cotai will reap the benefits. “In the short term, probably the rent will rise by about 5 per cent next year because of the new hotel opening,” Lam said.
According to consultants JLL, the most obvious evidence of the growth in rent can be seen in the One Oasis development in Cotai South, where leasing rates have risen by about 5 per cent as some of the employees have already taken up residence.
“This is because of its proximity to the Cotai Strip and Hengqin island in Zhuhai,” said Gregory Ku, managing director of property firm JLL in Macau. The sparsely populated Hengqin island is known for its beaches and green cover.
Rents at One Oasis start at about USD 1215 a month for a 640 sq ft flat and go up to USD 1600 for a 1,200 sq ft unit. For about USD 1215 to USD 1600 a month in Hong Kong, flats ranging between 530 sq ft flat and 710 sq ft can be rented in the distant New Territories areas of Tin Shui Wai and Sheung Shui.
However, representatives from JLL noted that about 1,500 new units would be added to the leasing market next year, which might put some downward pressure on rental growth in the city.