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Starwood Submits Singapore Proposal

3 March 2005

Las Vegas Sun

b Liz Benston

SINGAPORE -- Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, a major hotel chain with business interests in Las Vegas, said Wednesday it has submitted a proposal for a $1.8 billion casino resort in Singapore with a Las Vegas partner.

Starwood is the latest U.S. company that is making a bid to develop a casino in Singapore, a city-state that is considering legalizing casinos to capitalize on the lucrative and growing gambling market in Asia. Four Las Vegas gaming giants -- MGM Mirage, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. -- submitted proposals by a Monday deadline imposed by the Singapore government.

The company's partner, Eighth Wonder, is a private company run by casino designer Mark Advent. Advent was involved in creating the concept for the New York-New York hotel and casino owned by MGM Mirage. He also conceived a concept for a San Francisco-themed Strip resort that has yet to be built.

"We are excited by the prospect of exploring this exciting opportunity with Mark Advent and his team -- we are confident that together we can create one of the finest integrated resort experiences in the world," Starwood's Asia Pacific President Miguel Ko said in a statement.

Starwood's Singapore-based spokeswoman for the project could not be reached for comment by press time.

Starwood, based in White Plains, N.Y., owns several hotel brands including the Westin, which licensed its name to a hotel that opened in 2003 on Flamingo Road near the Strip.

The company also is managing the Aladdin hotel in its partnership role with Robert Earl, the co-founder of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain who is redeveloping the Aladdin into a Planet Hollywood-themed resort.

Advent declined to reveal details about the proposal other than to say that it will be proposed for Sentosa Island -- one of two sites under consideration by the Singapore government.

Government officials will look at the proposals and are expected to make a determination over the next several weeks about whether to legalize casinos. Developers will be expected to submit final proposals in a second round of the bidding process.

Up to 19 companies, which included casino and hotel developers from the Chinese resort city of Macau along with Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, were reported to have submitted proposals for casinos by Monday's deadline.

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