Galaxy, time to spend HKD 50 billions more

Galaxy is the operator with the most money involved in construction until the end of the concession. In addition to the renovations that are being made to the older buildings, it has yet to complete, in these two final years, phases 3 and 4 of its major project in Cotai. 

MB March 2020 Special Report | Cotai 3.0 (2019-2022)

Among the various operators with works in progress, or starting in the coming months, the Galaxy Entertainment Group stands out: it has a plan in place that will double its (already big) presence in Cotai and make sense of the many millions of square feet that were to be occupied. 

Let’s begin with the so-called Phase 3. 

A few months ago, the Galaxy Entertainment Group showed the first details for the new Galaxy International Convention Centre (GICC), a facility that is set to open in the first half of 2021 – the latest update for a project that has had several dates to complete, dependent on various government approvals. 

Galaxy describes it as “Asia’s most technologically advanced event facility” which will cover 40,000 square meters of MICE space, including a 10,000-square meter exhibition and conference hall. 

The 10,000-square meter exhibition hall will stand out for its lack of pillars. This space will have an auditorium with a capacity of 650 guests which will be used for keynote sessions or ceremonies, a banquet hall able to seat 2,400 guests, and a 4,000-square meter conference hall consisting of three different ideas: a ballroom (1,000 guests), a selection of dining options, and a luxury lifestyle hotel with over 700 rooms and suites – the Andaz hotel, a brand of Hyatt Hotels Corp. 

But the big attraction will be the 16,000-seat Galaxy Arena which will host concerts and sporting events. 

Lui Che Woo, chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group, said: “We are honoured to introduce state-of-the-art MICE and Arena facilities to attract new visitors and complement the government’s vision of a diversified economy and a city developing into a tourism world centre.” Galaxy’s Director of Operations Development, New Resort, Scott Kreeger, in an interview with industry publication MICE and Tourism around the World, added: “The conference center is designed more like a 5-star hotel conference center than an integrated international conference center.” 

With Galaxy Arena, Sands’ 15,000 seat Cotai Arena is no longer the only option for large-scale shows. 

Regarding the hotel capacity of this 3rd phase, some questions remain unanswered since Andaz has 700 rooms and suites, and Galaxy Entertainment previously said that Phase 3 would create 1,500 hotel rooms. A note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said the new 1,500-room hotel tower was scheduled to open in early 2021. 

According to several reports, phase 4 of Galaxy Macau is focused on non-gaming, and would offer approximately 3,000 hotel rooms. 

Last August, Galaxy Entertainment’s management said the company has completed the majority of the piling work for Phase 4, which is now targeted for opening in 2022, according to Sanford Bernstein’s report. The construction budget for Phase 3 and Phase 4 remains in the range of HKD 45 billions to HKD 50 billions, as previously announced, according to the same source (the Sanford Bernstein analysts). “We expect the opening of Galaxy Macau’s Phases 3 and 4 to be a positive catalyst for Galaxy Entertainment’s valuation.” 

Finally, the HKD 1.5-billion revamp of Galaxy Hotel, Hotel Okura Macau, Banyan Tree Macau, the next-door Broadway Macau and the StarWorld Hotel on the Macau peninsula. 

“The [revamp] programme includes the upgrading of gaming facilities, including both mass gaming floors and various VIP rooms, and non-gaming facilities such as food and beverage outlets”, said the company in a statement to the GGR website last year. 

One year ago, Galaxy Entertainment’s deputy chairman, Francis Lui Yiu Tung, said that the firm aimed to complete the revamp works at its Cotai and Macau peninsula properties in a “year and a half to two years’ time”.