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Today Online 27 Nov 06
No matter who wins IR bid, Sentosa benefits by getting a spectacular marine park
Lee Ching Wern

The Straits Times 27 Nov 06
World-class marine centre for Sentosa
Jessica Lim

Yahoo News 26 Nov 06
Vegas firms promises world's largest cultivated coral reef

Business Times (Singapore) 27 Nov 06
Eighth Wonder unveils plans for marine zone
It will boast the world's largest living coral reef

Channel NewsAsia 26 Nov 06
Eight Wonder proposes world's largest living coral reef lagoon
By Wong Siew Ying

SINGAPORE: Sentosa integrated resort bidder Eighth Wonder wants to take you into the heart of a coral reef lagoon, watch marine scientists at work or even experience a perfect storm.

That is all part of the experience at its Ocean Planet attraction on its proposed $5.5b Harry's Island.

Eighth Wonder and its partners say the proposed resort will not be a place of superficial entertainment, but leans heavily on a message of conservation and research, especially at its multi-million-dollar Ocean Planet.

The 60,000 square feet facility will feature a living coral reef lagoon, where visitors can either walk through or snorkel in.

"It's a double helix design to go down into what would be the world's first living coral reef lagoon, to work with agricultural technology in collaboration with other organisation, research and university organisation, both here and abroad to develop agricultural technology to grow that coral, fish and other animals in captivity so we don't have to take them out of water," said Philippe Cousteau, President, EarthEcho International.

Visitors will also be able to learn about marine life and observe scientists at work at what could be Asia's first Marine Mammal Rescue centre.

"Right now we have a unique opportunity with new technologies that are emerging around us; where broadcast facilities, all the other kinds of capacities that will be integrated into this resort will enable us to take these messages out to the world of learners, so we can foresee the ocean planet institute becoming a hub in a learning and education network that will go around the world and make Singapore a hub of marine education, research and conservation issues," said Robert Sullivan, Vice-President, Chora LLC.

Two research vessels, costing $50m each, will also be built to support marine exploration. Should Eighth Wonder win the bid, it will also work with media partners like Star TV and National Geographic to produce a range of educational programmes and game shows to further engage the visitors.

The bidder hopes to raise $160m over the next three years to fund activities coming out of Ocean Planet. - CNA /dt

Today Online 27 Nov 06
No matter who wins IR bid, Sentosa benefits by getting a spectacular marine park
Lee Ching Wern chingwern@mediacorp.com.sg

THE jury's still out on the Sentosa Integrated Resort bid, but one thing is for sure: no matter who gets to build Sentosa's IR, the island's getting one of the world's largest marine parks.

Following both Kerzner-Capitaland and Genting-Star Cruises' unveiling of their respective marine parks, Eighth Wonder followed suit yesterday with yet another marine zone--Ocean Planet, which will boast the world's largest living coral reef exhibit.

Like the other two water themes, Vegas-based Eighth Wonder's marine park comes with rides, a museum, theatre shows and up-close contact with sea creatures. But its 60,000 sq ft zone--which constitutes a third of Eighth Wonder's chief Mark Advent's brainchild Harry's Island--appears to have a stronger research element.

Pitching his plan as Eighth Wonder's way of "giving back to the community", Mr Advent enthused over its other key attractions: a state-of-the art marine research centre hosting the world's top marine scientists, a museum of the living seas, and two huge research vessels for marine exploration called Singapore One and Singapore Two.

Believing that the seas surrounding Singapore are full of aquatic marine life that has not been discovered or well-studied by the world, Mr Robert Sullivan, one of Ocean Planet's core team members, said: "I guarantee you, every time we take that vessel out, we'll be bringing back a brand new species never seen before or described by humans--And that becomes a tremendously exciting event for the visiting public."

As part of the plan to "make Singapore the hub of ocean research", no less than 30 world-class scientists and researchers will be brought in.

Ocean Planet will also be home to the Singapore Marine Mammal Research, Rescue and Teaching Hospital, which aims to rehabilitate injured marine mammals, sea turtles, and other forms of marine life. This includes a dolphin rehabilitation and treatment centre.

The coral reef exhibit--a key attraction of the park which measures about 30 metres wide and four storeys deep--promises to give visitors an unobstructed view of living and growing coral life in four million gallons of water, said Mr Philippe Cousteau, who will helm Ocean Planet.

Mr Cousteau is the grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Ocean Planet will cost Eighth Wonder an initial investment "hundreds of millions" and "tens of millions" of annual funding thereafter.

A good part of the attractions in Ocean Planet are free of charge; other attractions like the restaurants and hotels will bring in the money, said Mr Advent.

Asked if his plan is sustainable in the long run, he said Eighth Wonder has a long-term plan to commit a significant portion of its global resources to Harry's Island. For a start, an endowment fund of a minimum $160 million will be started "to make sure this lives well beyond our lifetime".

Eighth Wonder's equity partners are Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting Limited, Hong Kong's Melco International Development and United States-based Isle of Capri Casinos. Its banker is Credit Suisse.

The Sentosa IR race is likely to conclude on Dec 8, following the final round of presentations by the bidders to the Government this week.

Eighth Wonder plans TV tie-ups Should Eighth Wonder win the bid, Star TV and National Geographic will come on board Harry's Island, it was revealed yesterday.

Star TV will have an entire broadcasting centre located just next to football academy Pele Stadium. Original content like game shows, edutainment and pop programmes for Channel V will be produced from the centre and aired on Star TV channels. National Geographic, on the other hand, will be collaborating with Ocean Planet on its conservation efforts.

The Straits Times 27 Nov 06
World-class marine centre for Sentosa
Jessica Lim

It will be helmed by grandson of famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Top league gamblers will head for the casino while top-notch scientists will head for the oceanographic research centre.

This may well be so if the added lure of a world-class marine centre, dangled yesterday at Eighth Wonder's latest press conference, proves a clincher.

Eighth Wonder, described as the dark horse by Merril Lynch in the three-horse bid for Singapore's second integrated resort (IR) on Sentosa, unveiled plans for its roughly $1 billion Ocean Planet, a zone on its proposed $5.5 billion Harry's Island.

This section -- approximately 16ha of the 49ha plot -- will have 60,000 sq ft dedicated to marine conservation, education and research grouped under Ocean Planet Institute (OPI).

OPI will be helmed by Mr Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of legendary ocean explorer, conservationist and scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Eighth Wonder's chairman Mark Advent wants Harry's Island to be "more than a hospitality, leisure, entertainment and gaming property". It will also be "eco-friendly, and sustainable for generations to come".

Said the creator of New York New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas: "I felt strongly that we had to build an integrated resort with all these elements intrinsic in the design".

OPI's Marine Research Centre will conduct oceanographic research -- investigating the ocean as a global system -- and marine science -- the study of the behaviour of bio-diversity of marine life. It will host up to five permanent scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the world's largest private non-profit ocean research organisation. It will also take in pre- and post-doctoral fellows, students and visiting scientists.

Two research vessels will scour the seas for new species, and visitors can drop in when the vessels are in port.

Mr Cousteau who was at the conference, did his pitch: "Visitors will have reason to come back to the resort again and again. It will aso bring scientists from all over the world here".

The star attraction of Eighth Wonder's edutainment section includes the Coral Helix -- a structure of interlinked translucent tunnels which will extend underwater, transporting visitors into the heart of a coral lagoon. If built, it will be the world's largest coral reef in captivity. Visitors can dive into the snorkelling area at the top of the lagoon.

Also earmarked will be the Singapore Marine Mammal Research, Rescue and Teaching Hospital. This facility will nurse injured marine creatures like dolphins and sea turtles. Partially sponsored by the medical division of Siemens International, the hospital will help train the next generation of medical practioners and clinical specialists.

Over the next few days more plans will be unveiled: Soccer legend Pele is in town to talk about the 5,000-seat stadium and new football school on Harry's Island.

The other contenders for the IR are Genting International and Kerzner International/CapitaLand.

The winner will be announced early next month.

Yahoo News 26 Nov 06
Vegas firms promises world's largest cultivated coral reef

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Las Vegas firm Eighth Wonder said the world's first cultivated coral reef will be among the attractions at a major new Singapore gaming resort if it wins the bidding for the project.

The reef is part of Eighth Wonder's ambitious plans for its resort, Harry's Island, and will be helmed by Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of the late ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

"Nothing's been done on this scale before," said Cousteau at a press conference.

Rival bidder Kerzner International has already said its project would feature the world's biggest man-made coral reef as well as habitats for live fish and robotic sea creatures. Kerzner has teamed up with Singapore's CapitaLand to bid for Singapore's second gaming resort, on Sentosa island. The third bidder is the Genting International-Star Cruises team, part of Malaysian casino operator Genting Group.

Eighth Wonder's chairman and chief executive Mark Advent said: "I wanted Harry's Island to be eco-friendly, environmentally-friendly and sustainable for generations to come."

A series of interlinked translucent tunnels will be built to enable visitors at the resort to visit the coral reef, which will measure an estimated 30 metres in length and tapers to a depth of 10-15 metres, the Las Vegas firm said.

Eighth Wonder is teaming up with Australia's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Hong Kong's Melco International Development Ltd, who operate together in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, as well as Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. to bid for the project.

They are to invest 5.5 billion Singapore dollars (3.5 billion US) to build Harry's Island if their bid gets the nod from the government. A decision is expected in early December.

The proposed resort would offer over 2,100 hotel rooms and a 7,500-seat underwater theatre with a 10-storey high waterfall.

Singapore's first casino licence was awarded to Las Vegas Sands, which also has operations in Macau, in May. Sands says it will invest more than five billion dollars in the Marina Bay project to open in 2009. The city-state last year lifted a ban on casino gambling and announced plans for two casino resorts in a bid to boost its tourist appeal.

Business Times (Singapore) 27 Nov 06
Eighth Wonder unveils plans for marine zone
It will boast the world's largest living coral reef

EIGHTH Wonder yesterday unveiled plans for a billion dollar marine-themed zone within its Sentosa Integrated Resort (IR), including proposals for the world's largest cultivated coral reef, and marine conservation facilities.

Mark Advent, chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas-based firm said at a press briefing yesterday that its 'Ocean Planet' zone will take up about a third of the land area of its proposed gaming resort called Harry's Island, and could cost 'close to the billion dollar mark'.

Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and president of non-profit environment conservation organisation EarthEcho International, will helm the team in charge of Ocean Planet.

Mr Advent said that it will cost 'tens of millions of dollars per year' to run Ocean Planet, part of which will be funded by 'earned income, licensed products and operational support from Harry's Island'.

Some 60,000 sq ft of space in Ocean Planet has been dedicated to education and conservation activities. This includes the Coral Helix, touted as the world's largest living coral reef, a marine research institute called Ocean Planet Institute (OPI), and two purpose-built research vessels costing US$35 million each.

The Coral Helix is expected to measure about 30 metres across and up to 15 metres deep. The OPI will have a marine research centre that is expected to host five full-time scientists from established marine research organisation Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, as well as about 15 pre and post doctoral researchers.

Eighth Wonder also hopes to establish and raise $160 million for an endowment fund to help fund marine conservation activities, with plans to double the amount in five years.

Yesterday, Mr Advent also disclosed other details of the Harry's Island proposal. These include a 55,000 square feet television studio to be occupied by broadcaster Star TV, a hotel with all its rooms facing a football pitch, and a theatre that seats 7,500 people. The theatre will be recessed in a crater 250 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep.

Eighth Wonder has said that it will invest $5.5 billion to build its resort, should it win the bid for Singapore's second integrated resort. It is partnering Australia's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, Hong Kong's Melco International Development, and Isle of Capri Casinos Inc to bid for the project.

Also in the race for the Sentosa IR project are Kerzner International and Genting International-Star Cruises.

Eighth Wonder's Harry's Island website with extracts on wildsingapore
Related articles on Sentosa IR
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