By Ben Blaschke
Iconic London landmarks Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster are likely to be the dominant features of Macau’s newest themed resort after Las Vegas Sands (LVS) announced last week it would invest US$1.1 billion to transform Sands Cotai Central (SCC) into The Londoner Macao.
Revealing further details of the project during the company’s 3Q17 earnings call, LVS President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Goldstein said that the entire exterior façade of SCC would be reimagined to provide the same visual impact as its neighboring Cotai properties, Venetian Macao and Parisian Macao.
“There is a strong intention to re-façade the building,” Goldstein said. “When you drive by The Parisian … it’s visually stunning and it’s the same thing with The Venetian. It’s very, very attractive to the eye and makes you want to go inside the building. We want to achieve that at The Londoner, something with all the iconic architectural look and feel of Big Ben and the Parliament Building – something which you would see visually from the street and feel very much willing to come in and explore in the building.
“It’s both going to be an architectural treatment and a re-façade of some of the towers. Once you’re in the building, again, very much a London-feel, London-style approach with all kinds of opportunities to theme it. If you think about London, it’s iconic in so many ways from the buses to the Beefeaters – there’s just so many opportunities there. Our team is having great fun playing with that, inside we think the casino experience to be much more iconic, much more thematic.
“The goal is to be on both sides of the street both facing the Cotai Strip and to the rear as well towards MGM and Wynn.”
Las Vegas Sands confirmed its intention to rejuvenate Sands Cotai Central while announcing its third quarter results last week, which saw revenues at The Parisian – opened in September 2016 – grow 15.8% year-on-year to US$418 million.
The revamp, which will commence in 2Q18 and take between 18 and 24 months to complete, is aimed at boosting SCC’s mass market appeal.
“SCC has performed very well in the premium mass segment because of its 6,000 sleeping rooms but we think underperforms in the base mass segment where the highest margins reside,” Goldstein explained. “Its location is particularly advantaged too being between the new MGM (Cotai) building and the Wynn (Palace) building across from the Venetian.
“There will be disruption, we can’t deny that. That’s a fact of life in any building this large and it’s an ambitious renovation. But I think the payoff pitch on this will be extraordinary for this company and real growth in a market we’re very comfortable with.”
The US$1.1 billion investment will also provide 350 luxury suites at St Regis and another 295 suites at a new Four Seasons Tower, although Goldstein said the company plans to retain its current hotel brands upon completion, including Conrad Macao, Holiday Inn Macao and Sheraton Grand Macao.
“It’s more about the casino, the façade and some of the sleeping rooms, but the majority of the sleeping rooms remain intact,” he said. “We are very pleased with most of the St Regis building. We’ll take the new St Regis suites and redo those and we’ll leave alone the Conrad and the Sheraton. We’re going to redo the entire Holiday Inn facility and redo the façade of the building. And there’ll be some unexpected surprises as part of the renovation.”