Hong Kong gaming and hospitality company Melco Resorts & Entertainment turned today the first sod on its €550-million City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort in Limassol, Cyprus.
The property will be the company’s first one outside Asia and will feature Cyprus’ first-ever full-blown, Las Vegas-style casino.
Today’s ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Melco CEO and Chairman Lawrence Ho, Melis Shiakolas of CNS Group, Melco’s local partner, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, among a number executives and officials.
Melco was selected as the preferred developer of an integrated resort with a casino floor in the Republic of Cyprus in the fall of 2016, and received the necessary gaming license and other related permissions last year.
Its plan includes the development of a mixed-use complex in the Zakaki area of the city of Limassol. Construction work is expected to be completed in 2021. Melco has said that the resort’s development will annually create 4,000 jobs.
City of Dreams Mediterranean will also employ more than 6,500 people directly and indirectly once fully operational.
The gaming portion of the resort will occupy 7,500 square meters and will feature 1,200 slot machines and 140 gaming tables. Aside from its casino, the first one on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the complex will also include a 500-room hotel, a 1,200-square-meter retail area, 9,600 square meters of convention, event, and meeting space, and a number of food and beverage facilities and attractions.
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Melco has previously said that it would look to attract tourists all year round, instead of relying on the summer months during which the island nation sees the largest flow of international visitors. The company expects that the UK, Russia, Germany, and Israel will represent its largest markets.
Under the terms of its gaming license, Melco was allowed to operate a temporary casino in Limassol, while the main resort is under development. It was announced during today’s groundbreaking ceremony that the temporary facility will launch June 28 and will feature 33 gaming tables, 242 gaming machines, and a VIP gaming area.
The property cost €12 million to be built on a plot not far from the main resort’s construction site. The temporary casino will be closed once the larger casino opens doors. Staff will be transferred to the main gaming floor.
Melco and its local partner are also set to open four satellite casinos across the island nation, the first two of which – one in the capital Nicosia and the other in Paphos – are expected to be ready by November. A satellite facility will then launch in Larnaca in January 2019. The fourth such venue will be located in Ayia Napa and will be opened in May 2019.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said during today’s groundbreaking ceremony that they are glad that Melco has picked the island nation to expand its footprint to and that they hope City of Dreams Mediterranean will help Cyprus establish itself as a premium regional and even global destination.
Mr. Ho said that working with the Cypriot has been phenomenal and that they have established one of their best working relationships. The executive, son of legendary casino mogul Stanley Ho, also said that his company would definitely consider expanding its City of Dreams Mediterranean resort, mostly for non-gaming purposes, if the property meets performance expectations.