By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 29, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The land ownership issue hounding the group of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada may finally be resolved after two unnamed local groups signified interest to acquire majority ownership of the property for Okada’s $2-billion casino project.
In a briefing yesterday, Eagle II Holdings Inc. president Jose Leagogo said they have entered into a memorandum of understanding with two leading Philippine corporations, whereby the latter would acquire at least 60 percent of the casino project’s landowner.
The entry of the two firms would help Okada’s group comply with the country’s 40-percent foreign ownership limit.
Leagogo declined to name the two local groups, saying they are bound by a confidentiality agreement with the parties concerned.
He said the two groups have a month to conduct a due diligence on the property which would be developed into a premier integrated entertainment and resort project in Manila’s future gaming hub.
Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc.president Masahiro Terrada said the entry of the two unnamed corporations would allow Okada’s group to complete its gaming complex by the first quarter of 2015 or as scheduled.
The entertainment complex, dubbed Manila Bay Resorts, would comprise three hotels offering a total of 2,000 rooms, state-of-the-art gaming facilities, and an indoor man-made beach club covered in a huge glass dome.
Terrada said two of the hotels would be luxurious, while one would be a four-star hotel.
He said the project would also feature a Las Vegas-style water fountain, high-end and casual dining restaurants, upscale retail shops, trade halls, cinemas and ample parking lots.
The MOU follows the failed partnership between Okada and Robinsons Land Corp. of tycoon John Gokongwei after months of negotiations.
Among those earlier reported to have expressed interest in partnering with Okada is Rockwell Land Corp. of the Lopez family.
In July last year, the Okada group also signed a deal with real estate tycoon Andrew Tan’s Empire East Land Holdings Inc. to build a P45-billion upscale residential condominium complex as a component of the $2-billion entertainment hub.