Casino hub EOIs closed
THE door has shut for conglomerates wanting to open a second casino in Cairns.
Expressions of interest for a Global Tourism Hub have closed.
The hub, which includes a casino as well as high-end hotels and retail, dining and entertainment venues, could cost as much as $1 billion.
The government has earmarked a preferred site in Wharf St on Ports North land and next to the city’s convention centre.
A shortlist of preferred proponents will not be decided until early next year.
The State Government is not revealing much as the bidding war reaches a critical stage.
A spokesman would not say how many expressions of interest were lodged nor who they were from.
“The government is encouraged by the market’s response (to the Expressions of Interest),” the spokesman for Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said.
“Those EOI responses are now being evaluated by the state and proponents successful in this phase will be issued with the Request for Detailed Proposals (RFDP) documentation in early 2019,” he said.
It is expected the proposals will be evaluated in the first half of 2019 and the preferred proponent announced and transaction documents signed in the second half of the year. Construction is likely to begin in the second half of 2020.
The Queensland Government’s projects chief executive David Edwards briefed the business community in Cairns earlier this week but was tightlipped.
It is understood one option discussed was the possibility of one major player operating both the Cairns venture and a second casino earmarked for the Gold Coast.
In June Mr Edwards told an Advance Cairns breakfast that the government was working with 11 organisations on the EOI and expected the shortlist to come down to two or three.
The Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns has lodged an EOI.
In May Ms Jones met Las Vegas casino heavyweights about the global tourism hub proposed for Cairns.
A tabled report in Queensland Parliament showed Ms Jones and senior departmental officials met high-ranking Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Hard Rock Asia and MGM Resorts International executives.
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TALKS: Tourism Minister Kate Jones has met with Las Vegas casino heavyweights.