A consortium including former Las Vegas Sands executive William Weidner and global casino designer Paul Steelman is among a group of initial investors in a new financial center and entertainment hub being planned for Da Nang, Vietnam.
The Da Nang Financial Center project, the brainchild of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) and its Chairman Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, is planned to cover 58 hectares in Da Nang’s Son Tra District and would see the city become a central financial hub, as well as providing a raft of new tourism options for visitors.
It would also incorporate an integrated resort described by Weidner as being similar to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, according to comments published by local media outlet Lao Dong.
“When I came to Vietnam in 2016 … we presented the idea of combining a financial center with an integrated resort similar to the design of Marina Bay Sands that we have developed in Singapore,” said Weidner, a one-time senior executive at Las Vegas Sands and now Chairman and CEO of Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM).
“Vietnamese leaders are building financial regulations to allow Vietnam to attract investment from the US and other countries around the world. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the leaders of Vietnam and Da Nang city for the introduction of legal regulations to allow investment in financial centers combined with integrated resorts. That will ensure the future development of Vietnam.”
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc granted permission in March for plans to be drawn up, advocating “to allow for research and project formulation to build Da Nang city into a regional-level finance center,” according to information from IPPG. The project is part of a nationwide initiative to transform Vietnam into a “developed country” by 2045.
Details of the project remain sketchy, however Nguyen noted at a signing ceremony on 29 March that he had brought together key investors specializing in the fields of finance as well as the design of resort hotels and casino entertainment complexes. In particular, Weidner and Steelman will work with IPPG on developing an initial project plan before the project is handed over to the People’s Committee of Da Nang city later this year.
“We are confident that we can bring investments worth millions of US dollars to Da Nang city with the development of a suitable resort integrated with the financial center,” Weidner said.
“We are also interested in being able to continue to invite [further] billions of dollars to invest in Vietnam when setting up other financial centers.”
GGAM is currently involved in an ongoing legal dispute with the Philippines’ Bloomberry Resorts Corp – owner and operator of Solaire Resort & Casino – that saw the Weidner firm last week file a new lawsuit in a New York court.