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  Today Online 5 Sep 07
Will costs of Sentosa resort shoot past $5.2b?
Jasmine Yin

WHILE the contracts awarded have been within budget, Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS) said it would only know in about a month's time if its projected $5.2-billion development bill needs to be topped up.

Final drawings for the 49-hectare site are not complete and numbers are still being crunched. As such, RWS "has not arrived at the stage of the final costing", its spokesman Krist Boo told Today.

Last week, Las Vegas Sands president and CEO William Weidner had said the Las Vegas-based gaming operator which is developing the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, slated to open in late 2009 was "struggling" to stick to its US$3.6-billion ($5.5 billion) budget, and anticipated a "20 to 40 per cent" spike in it.

Days later, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang urged construction industry players not to push up their tender prices on the assumption that increased costs of building materials would persist.

Yesterday, RWS said more than $600 million worth of contracts that have been awarded stayed "within cost projections". These include road diversion works, reclamation and a 4,100-lot basement car park, work on which began two weeks ago.

Las Vegas Sands, too, has already awarded some $700 million in contracts and is expected to unveil the winner of a $1-billion contract to build its three 50-storey hotel towers soon.

Building work on RWS' Universal Studios Singapore the first Universal Studios theme park in South-east Asia will start next month. Similar works for its first two hotels, Maxims Residences and Hotel Michael, are slated to follow in February.

In the pipeline, too, is the call for two construction tenders over the next four weeks, following one earlier this week.

RWS will award the first of these three tenders worth over $1 billion in total in January. It is targeting a soft opening in early 2010.

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