04 November 2008

Delay in construction of Sentosa IR marine aquarium?

Due to lack of space, work on the West Zone to start only when its Central and East Zones are well under way. Resorts World Sentosa is negotiating with the government on this.

The West Zone is the location of the Marine Life Park, a Marine Xperiential Museum, an Equarius Water Park. From the Resorts World Sentosa website, the plan for the Marine Life Park include captive whale sharks, dolphins and 700,000 fishes.

Why the delay? "The area to be occupied by the West Zone is needed to facilitate construction of the East Zone, which will be occupied by Universal Studios Singapore."

With this plan in place, RWS intends to 'soft launch' Universal Studios Singapore and four hotels in the Central Zone by the first quarter of 2010.

"The significance of this is that RWS will want its key revenue generator - the casino - open to gamblers as soon as possible. And it looks like nothing will stand in the way of the casino being the first attraction to open for business."

Resorts World's West Zone likely to open later
It needs space to help build up East Zone, which will be occupied by Universal Studios
Arthur Sim, Business Times 4 Nov 08;
RESORTS World Sentosa (RWS) is in talks with government agencies including the Singapore Tourism Board, Urban Redevelopment Authority and Ministry of Trade and Industry to start work on the project's West Zone only when its Central and East Zones are well under way.

The West Zone of the $6 billion integrated resort (IR) on Sentosa will include a Marine Life Park, a Marine Xperiential Museum, an Equarius Water Park and two hotels.

RWS executive vice-president (projects) Michael Chin said that the area to be occupied by the West Zone is needed to facilitate construction of the East Zone, which will be occupied by Universal Studios Singapore.

Mr Chin said the logistics of creating just one of the theme park's attractions - Revenge of the Mummy - will require 150-200 container loads of material, equipment and paraphernalia.

And this requires space for 'container parking' and 'staging'.

RWS has never given firm opening dates for any of its attractions. But Mr Chin said that the pace of construction is 'aggressive'.

'It will be faster to stage in the West Zone and supply to the East Zone,' he said. 'We are trying to talk to the authorities and tell them this is the most sensible, logical plan that we can work on.'

With this plan in place, RWS intends to 'soft launch' Universal Studios Singapore and four hotels in the Central Zone by the first quarter of 2010. This will include 21 theme park attractions and 1,400 hotel rooms.

At present, 2,000 people are working on-site 24 hours a day. In the East Zone, the steel structure for the Revenge of the Mummy ride is being put up. But the all-suite, 12-storey Maxims Residence - which houses the casino - appears to be the fastest-rising structure, with the lift core built up to the seventh floor.

The significance of this is that RWS will want its key revenue generator - the casino - open to gamblers as soon as possible.

And it looks like nothing will stand in the way of the casino being the first attraction to open for business.

Even if the West Zone is not completed by 2010, the government has already said that the casino licence can be awarded when at least 50 per cent of the investment capital has been spent and 50 per cent of the overall gross floor area has been built.

Mr Chin confirmed that about $3 billion of construction contracts have been awarded, more recently to local companies like Cityneon Holdings and Pico Art.

And according to RWS head of communications Krist Boo, the IR will be 'quite ample as a destination', even without the West Zone.


Sentosa IR 60% ready by 2010
Casino, four hotels and many attractions will be up by then; hiring starts next year
Lim Wei Chean, Straits Times 4 Nov 08;
THE steel frame for the first ride at the Universal Studios theme park in Sentosa, the Revenge of the Mummy, was winched into place last week.

It is one of the 21 attractions that will be ready to roll when the 49ha Resorts World at Sentosa has its soft opening in the first quarter of 2010. The theme park is part of the Resorts World integrated resort (IR).

Three other rides, including the Transformer one, will be added later.

The picture is much the same in the rest of the resort: About 60 per cent of it will be ready for visitors when it debuts in March 2010.

Of the six hotels, four will be opening then. Maxims Residences, Festive Hotel, Hotel Michael and Hard Rock Hotel will make available 1,400 rooms.

Also slated to open then are the casino and the half-kilometre-long Festive Walk with its shops and restaurants.

Resorts World's head of communications Krist Boo said negotiations with the Government to fix the opening dates for the remaining 40 per cent of the resort are ongoing. These include its Marine Life Park, the Maritime Xperiential Museum and the remaining two hotels.

Giving an update on the construction yesterday, Ms Boo and executive vice-president of projects Michael Chin said more than 2,000 people are working round the clock on the project.

Construction cannot begin on the western end of the project because the area is now being used as a staging ground to hold the containers of equipment coming in for the construction and fitting-out of the theme park.

Before The Revenge of the Mummy ride could be assembled on site, for example, space was needed to store, lay out and put together the 20 container-loads of equipment making up the ride.

Resorts World had not reckoned on needing this much space.

Mr Chin said that the original plan was to manage the staging within the Universal Studios' site, but because the park and other properties had to be at least mostly ready by March 2010, this was not possible.

The west end of the resort thus came to be where the theme park attractions were laid out and assembled.

After construction of the four hotels is completed by March next year, their interiors will be fitted out, said Mr Chin.

In the theme park itself, work has also begun on the other attractions such as Jurassic Park and Waterworld. Mr Chin said that by the middle of next year, the exterior of the attractions will be completed, leaving six to eight months to fit out the rides and test them.

Hiring of the 10,000 staff for the resort will also begin then.

Ms Boo also said application for the casino licence should take place 'some time next year' once half the gross floor area and half the $6 billion budget have been committed.

She said: 'By late 2009, we should be very comfortably ready for our soft opening in 2010.'

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