Construction company WBHO has been appointed the principal contractor for the construction of the new Time Square at Menlyn Maine development in Pretoria East. The development follows the approval of the Gauteng Gambling Board for the transfer, by Sun International, of its Morula Casino licence to Menlyn.
Although the project will reach completion in April 2018, the casino expects to open its doors in April 2017, the arena in September 2017 and the hotel by April 2018.
The bulk earthworks started in May 2015 and the first phase of the bulk earthworks and lateral support was completed on time, towards the end of 2015.
Sun International development director Sean Montgomery indicates that Time Square at Menlyn Maine will provide Tshwane with a unique and exciting high-end, urban entertainment centre in a vibrant, secure and people-orientated precinct.
“The project will act as a major catalyst for the entire precinct and will bring to the area an urban entertainment facility on a scale [deserving of serving] local residents and visitors,” he says.
The development will comprise a five-star hotel and conference centre, which will cater to the diplomatic travel market, support the business traveller and encourage overnight stays in Tshwane, as well as accommodate gambling patrons. It will also boast an 8 000-seat indoor entertainment arena, which will be used for concerts and sporting events.
The casino will offer 2 000 slot machines and 60 tables, all equipped with the latest technology used internationally. It will feature a range of retail shops, bars and restaurants, with parking for 2 785 vehicles.
“After a wave of change and development in the late 1990s, this is the most exciting development in our industry in years,” says Sun International CE Graeme Stephens.
The capital cost of the project is R3.65-billion, with a debt/equity ratio of 70:30. The multiplier effect of the investment will exceed the impact of the current Morula Casino licence, and Sun International expects that the project will cumulatively contribute as much as R19-billion to the gross domestic product during construction and the first five years of operation.
Architecturally, the building will be covered in glass to give it a contemporary feel. The arena will have a domelike appearance, with the high-rise hotel setting the backdrop for the development.
The new development will create as many as 10 000 jobs during construction and 2 200 jobs when the project is complete.