Villar to open casino in 2023, launch more condos

The family of Manuel B. Villar, listed as the richest Filipino by Forbes, is launching its 80-hectare casino and entertainment complex called Gold Coast Entertainment City in 2023 as construction is almost complete.

“Yes it will push through. It is already a big development. We will be launching early next year since the casino has already been built,” Villar said in an interview with reporters.

While Villar declined to reveal how much they are spending for Gold Coast, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation requires those granted casino licenses to invest at least $1 billion for the integrated resort and casino complex.

The project, which will eventually feature hotels, condominiums, a mall, a casino, and a theme park, is located in the Las Piñas-Parañaque area near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

It will be undertaken by Prime Asset Ventures Inc.—the private investment company headed by Villar’s son Manuel Paolo A. Villar—through wholly-owned subsidiary Vertex Entertainment and Resort Corporation.

Villar noted that the complex will not be all about the casino but will be a place for shopping, dining, and entertainment much like the developments of Disney.

However, while the casino will be just one of the attractions of the entertainment component, Villar said it is already attracting a lot of attention in the gaming world with some junket operators already applying for the right to bring in high rollers.

He added that they will be partnering with a foreign gaming company for the operation of the casino but declined to disclose the name of the company or its nationality.

Meanwhile, Villar said his flagship real estate firm Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. will be more aggressive in launching residential projects in 2023 after noting that they had to scale down operations during the first three years of the pandemic.

“We will be more active in housing this year. We have been holding back for three years. While we remained active in the market, we did not pursue it as much,” he noted.

With the situation now improving with the reopening of the economy, he said “We will return to developing more vertical projects because I want to preserve the land because land is getting to be more expensive. Next year we will have more vertical projects.”

While Vista Land had reduced the number of its vertical projects compared to its traditional horizontal developments in the first two years of the pandemic, Villar said they have already shifted back to building more vertical projects this year and will end 2022 with about a 50-50 vertical to horizontal ratio.

Depending on height restrictions in project sites, Villar said they will be building both high-rise and mid-rise condominiums to cater to various segments of the market.