Development of a South Korean integrated resort project formerly being led by US casino giant Caesars Entertainment is expected to resume imminently after the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism granted a 12-month extension to the construction deadline.
The extension comes after it was revealed last month that Caesars had pulled out of the project, located in Incheon outside Seoul, and sold its entire 50% stake to its former partner, Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd, for what Caesars CEO Tom Reeg controversially described as “some barbecue pork.”
According to a report by local media outlet The Kyunghyang Shinmun, the Ministry on Wednesday approved the change in ownership structure for the Midan City Resort Complex – previously known as the Caesars Korea Resort Complex – but rejected a request to extend the completion deadline by three years until 2024. It has instead been given another 12 months with the new opening date now set for 2022.
An official at Midan City told The Kyunghyang Shinmun, “We are grasping the intention of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to extend the business period by only one year while approving the change in the stake structure.”
Construction on the Midan City project had been halted in February 2020 after the main construction company, Ssangyong E&C, was unable to cover KRW30 billion (US$27 million) in costs due to Caesars ceasing any further investment.
Under the new ownership structure, it has been suggested that development could now restart before the end of March 2021.
When complete, Midan City Resort Complex will include a casino, 751 hotel rooms, a theater and a convention space.
Another Incheon IR project being developed by US tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is currently awaiting approval on an extension of its own.
Wednesday’s report said the Inspire Korea project had requested an extension of six months from its current June 2022 deadline due to delays forced by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Phase 1 of Inspire Korea – sitting on land covering almost 4.4 million square meters near Incheon International Airport – will cover 1.6 million square meters and include 150 gaming tables and 700 EGMs, a 15,000-seat arena, an indoor climate-controlled dome with a pool and rides, dining and retail, a 19,000-square meter conference and convention space, and 1,250 hotel rooms.