Guests returning to Studio City once Macau’s borders with China reopen will find a transformed property, according to Melco Resorts & Entertainment, with the operator having taken the opportunity of less traffic due to COVID-19 to complete a variety of upgrade works.
With construction work at Studio City Phase 2 also finally underway following a 12-month delay, Melco’s Executive Vice President and CFO Geoff Davis said the lack of business over the past two months has allowed the company to “get some projects done” at the Cotai Strip property, including “new carpet and all the ceiling painted … we’ve done a lot of work in the casino. When people do come back they’re going to come back to a brand new casino.”
More importantly, Melco has finally been granted approval to proceed with its Studio City Phase 2 development with Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho praising Macau’s new Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, for pushing Macau forward since his December appointment despite having been focused on COVID-19.
“It’s unfortunate that within the first 100 days the new administration took over, you had COVID-19, and that has taken most of their attention, but I have to give credit to the Macau Chief Executive,” Ho said during Melco’s 1Q20 earnings call late Thursday.
“He has instructed his secretaries. For instance, the Secretary of Public Works and Land has accelerated the approval of a lot of construction projects, so Studio City Phase 2, after almost a year of being stuck in limbo to get started, all our necessary approvals came through.”
Davis added that one of those approvals was for development of a new water park at Studio City, “which will start soon, and the Phase 2 project is already well under way. We’re doing a lot of piling and a lot of activity is going on at the construction site.”
Melco said it has also accelerated renovation work at Nüwa, formerly branded as Crown, at City of Dreams which it hopes to have completed by September and in time for October Golden Week.