A star-studded crew of celebrities, including actor Robert De Niro and singer Mariah Carey, stopped by Macau on Wednesday to open Macau Studio City, a new integrated resort that seeks to meld Hollywood themed entertainment with a 1,600-room hotel and a 35,000 square metre shopping centre.
The grand opening of the $3.2 billion complex developed by Melco Crown Entertainment, the gaming and real estate development joint venture co-chaired by Macau’s Lawrence Ho and Australia’s James Packer, is part of a new wave of Macau development, that seeks to move beyond the island’s gambling-centred past towards more family-oriented fare.
The opening ceremony also marked the formal debut of The Boulevard at Studio City, a shopping centre which seeks to meld entertainment with shopping to attract consumers to Macau as retail destination.
Hollywood Stars Visit Macau
In addition to De Niro and Carey, Studio City’s opening was attended by a host of show business personalities from the US and Asia. From Hollywood, Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and producer Brett Ratner all stopped by, while Hong Kong stars Aaron Kwok, Carina Lau and Josie Ho also checked in.
The glitz is all part of an effort by developers Melco Crown Entertainment, a joint venture between Macau’s Lawrence Ho (son of local casino czar Stanley Ho) and Australia’s James Packer, to diversify Macau’s entertainment scene.
The island’s economy has reportedly been hit hard by the mainland’s corruption crackdown, which has helped to send wagers at local casinos down by an estimated $30 billion this year, according to CLSA.
World Class Shopping Expected to Draw More Macau Visitors
A major thrust of Studio City’s Macau entertainment upgrade is The Boulevard at Studio City, a retail centre being managed by Taubman Asia, a division of US real estate investment trust, Taubman Centers.
Keeping with the complex’ resort theme, the mall aims to “transport” vistors to squares and streetscapes inspired by iconic shopping and entertainment locations, including New York’s Times Square and Hollywood’s Beverly Hills.
“The Boulevard brings an unparalleled shopping experience to Macau’s new entertainment capital, Studio City, and we are thrilled to celebrate the opening of this one-of-a-kind destination,” said René Tremblay, president of Taubman Asia.
In addition to the entertainment aspect of the mall, Taubman, which has a portfolio of 22 retail properties in the US and Asia, believes that its curated mix of brands will be the stars at its first Macau project.
“As Taubman Asia’s first project in Macau, The Boulevard is strategically positioned to capture the vast retail opportunity of Macau’s preeminent leisure and tourism market,” Tremblay added.
For gamers looking for a way to spend their winnings, the Boulevard at Studio City will include Macau’s first Balmain store, as well as the island’s first Belstaff boutique. Other brands opening up in the centre, which is owned through a joint venture between Melco Crown and Taubman Asia, are Bulgari, Dunhill, Emporio Armani, Piaget, and Tom Ford’s largest store in Asia.