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Grand Lisboa Palace to open in stages, SJM boss reveals

Friday, 20 July 2018 06:17
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Grand Lisboa Palace, the HK$36 billion (US$4.6 billion) integrated resort currently being built in Cotai by SJM Holdings, will be opened in stages as the company races the clock to have the property ready before 2020.

The project update was delivered by SJM Vice-Chairman, Executive Director and CEO Ambrose So on Thursday following a press conference launching a new seminar program at Macau Millennium College that will see young SJM executives learn about China’s modern history and traditional culture.

Asked about the progress of construction following a series of delays over the past 12 months, Dr So told Inside Asian Gaming that, “Grand Lisboa Palace will open in late 2019 or early 2020 but it will not be a full opening, it will be a phased opening.

“We are striving to get everything done so that we have the conditions to apply for a 2019 opening, but at the moment we are not committed to any concrete timeframe.”

Key to launch will be the progress of the IR’s three hotels, The Lisboa Palace Hotel, Palazzo Versace Macau and Karl Lagerfield Hotel, with Dr So stating “we envision the three of them opening together.”

Construction of SJM’s first Cotai resort suffered a series of setbacks in 2017 including the death of a construction worker that saw the site shut down for 44 days, two suspicious on-site fires and Typhoon Hato in August, which caused around MOP$200 million worth of damage.

The issue of typhoons has come into focus once again in recent months ahead of the one-year anniversary of Hato, with the government recently launching a public consultation on a new civil protection draft bill that would see Macau’s Chief Executive granted the authority to order the city’s casinos closed in extreme situations.

Dr So said on Thursday that he is a theoretic supporter of the bill.

“I think it is a good measure provided it is done in an ordinary manner,” he said. “The territory for the industry has expanded a lot. The industry used to be concentrated on the Peninsula but is now in Cotai too. That means people have to cross the bridge and in very heavy typhoons the bridges might be closed.

“If there is such a measure this will be welcomed by the employees and also by the employer.”

Asked about SJM’s preparedness should another powerful storm strike, Dr So added, “I think everyone is taking precautions and is alert about the possibility of typhoons after Hato last year. Everyone will be much better prepared than before.

“We have looked at our alertness, co-ordination and in the case of a typhoon what should be done. We have internal guidelines, we practice drills and exercises to help [staff] react more efficiently.”




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