Thanks to our friend George (Drambuie-man), we have a report on the construction of the Marina Bay Sands, the Las Vegas Sands project in Singapore.
Photos are here:
Continue after the jump to read more...
The one thing that strikes me about the Marina Bay Sands is its odd combination of accessibility and isolation from Singapore. The Sands development is part of a larger project to redevelop former maritime cargo facilities. This may sound rather depressing, but up until recently such was key to the former British colony. These shipping facilities today are on prime coastal real estate just off downtown. The casino is on a arm of bay that curves around and faces the heart of the city. It will likely dominate the views of downtown buildings, and the Sands will have equally dominating views of the Singapore Straits, and perhaps resort/leisure oriented Sentosa Island.
Right now everything from downtown to the Sands is pure construction. I had to navigate some roads filled with workers and equipment. On the way I noted, and later used, a subway station that was a long-ish walk from the Sands project. You might be able to see a progression in the photos of me going up to the site trough the main access road until I was waved away and yelled at for taking pictures.
One photo may point out the complexity of the work. It seems they have English, Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian (and possibly Indonesian) workers all on the job site. Facetiously reminds me of the story of the tower of Babel. Also you might be able to see from a sign Dengue Fever is still a problem in Singapore. As I pointed out a similar sign in Little India yesterday a friend told me the worry is more about migrants. I would say get your shots if you want to be safe, but we're all gamblers and like to take risks.
After being denied a closer look, I walked around the construction maze to find a the other side. Unfortunately, I was stymied by a huge freeway that runs right by the Sands. I gave up, but going to the airport I was pleasantly surprised as the taxi used that stretch of freeway, and so I got some snaps from that side as well.
As you can see from the construction the towers are beginning to go up. However, from my understanding of the project, no activity yet on the convention center or casino buildings. Likewise the public park/museum area is absent. While I cannot say what the traffic situation will be for sure, it looks like you will have to take an entrance road from the arm of land that originates downtown to the eastern part of the complex. The rest of it is either surrounded by the marina or the freeway.
As for the possible success of the project, I really do not know. I can come up with all sorts of point/counterpoint scenarios. The Marina Bay Sands in size and scope would be a great cherry on top of Singapore's tourism development plan. On the other hand, as noted by others, casinos and Singapore's squeak clean image are an odd juxtaposition (the Circus Circus of Asia?). Singapore is ethnically Chinese dominated, and Chinese friendly. However, mainlanders would need a more specialized visa for the sovereign soil Singapore, and my initial impression of Singapore is about as Chinese friendly as Puerto Rico is to Americans (meanwhile you can similarly compare Macau to Montreal). It's a toss-up!