Widus signs 450 hectare lease agreement in Philippines
The Widus Group, who owns and operate the Widus Hotel & Casino in Clark, Philippines, have signed an agreement to lease around 450 hectares of land in the nearby New Clark City.
The lease will see the firm develop three golf courses and four hotels as part of its ongoing expansion plans.
Asgam reports that the agreement is held with the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), which includes a commitment of Php12 billion (US$238 million) from Widus for the development of the resort, to be known as Hann Lux, over a 10-year period starting in 2020.
The development is divided into two phases, where phase 1, which is expected to be finished by 2025 at a cost of Php5 billion (US$100 million), will include the Angsana Hotel and Banyan Tree Hotel, an 18-hole championship golf course and a clubhouse.
The second phase will include the development of Westin and Luxury Collection by Marriott, two 18-hole championship golf courses, outdoor recreation facilities, premium villas and residences, a mixed-use commercial centre and a 10-hectare public park for a total investment of Php7 billion.
“Clark is fast becoming one of the top destinations in Northern Luzon for both tourists and investors,” said Dae Sik Han, President and CEO of the Widus Consortium’s Hann Development Corporation.
“We hope to attract more with the development of a new leisure resort in New Clark City, one that is in keeping with the vision of BCDA.”
Widus Hotel & Casino is located within the Clark Freeport Zone, which is also well advanced on its own expansion. The expansion of the area will see its current offering of 67 gaming tables and around 370 slot machines grow to 200 tables and 800 to 1,000 slot machines once complete in 2021.
First property the first to have a full gaming licence
Widus Philippines was the first property in Clark to have received a full gaming licence from the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor.
The license was approved at Pagcor’s July 8 board meeting earlier this year.
Neki Liwanag, Widus Philippines’ assistant vice president for corporate planning and compliance, in an emailed statement to GGRAsia on Wednesday, September 4 that “being able to get the regular gaming licence a few months ahead of the required timeline and [supported by] more than the required investment shows Widus’ commitment to the industry and its belief on the success of the gaming industry in Clark, and in the Philippines.”
“This is also the reason why Widus is already expanding with the construction of its fourth hotel tower, [the] expansion of the existing casino, and other related facilities,” Liwang said.
Widus Philippines said that the full licence was issued after the company surpassed a minimum investment threshold under its agreement with Pagcor. Ms Liwanag said that the company was required to invest PHP4.5 billion (US$86.6 million) within four years from the signing of its provisional licence in December 2014.
“Based on our report submitted to Pagcor for the release of the regular gaming licence, and as verified by our external auditors, we have invested a total of PHP10.176 billion as of October 31, 2018,” Liwang said.
The first hotel tower of the Widus Hotel and Casino complex was opened in 2008, which was followed by the casino in December 2009. A second tower opened in 2012 which was followed by the Clark Marriott hotel in September 2018.
The lease agreement is set to increase the presence of the Widus Group within the Philippines significantly with its development focused on offering luxury facilities for its guests.