Pryor helped build Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands
Best Sunshine International Ltd. made a hiring coup of sorts after announcing yesterday that Matthew Pryor of Tenman Project Management Holdings Limited has joined the $7.1-billion Saipan integrated casino developer as its in-house development and construction team.
BSI CEO Mark A. Brown introduced Pryor to local media yesterday at the company’s new office at the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe.
“I’ll be overseeing the architectural and design process. I will be managing the whole development process from start to finish. From concept design through the whole construction phase and once its built [I] will hand it over to operations,” said Pryor.
According to his company’s website, Pryor established TPM after eight years with Las Vegas Sands Corp., where his roles ranged from director of Construction (Macau) to senior vice president, Construction (Asia).
At Sands, Pryor was responsible for all construction and development activity in Asia. Under his direction were Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (9.4m sq. ft., $5.4 billion); The Venetian Macao (10.6m sq. ft., $2.4 billion); Sands Cotai Central (13.2m sq. ft., $4.2 billion); Four Seasons Macao (3.2m sqft, US$1.08 billion); and Sands Macao (1.5m sq. ft., $364 million).
Pryor, who is one of 10 new company hires in Hong Kong and Saipan, said he is very familiar with Brown after closely working with him for a number of years in Macau.
“Mark was running the operations and I was running the development side. So we worked hand in hand for about five years…I’m basically working with [BSI] to make their vision into a reality so I can help them through the whole development process. Work with the local teams, work with local resources, and obviously we will be looking to work with other international groups on the design side. We’re looking to pull that together and help them execute the development side.”
Brown said hiring Pryor and his team is a coup for BSI and its parent company, Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd.
“He’s superstar! This is a very, very big hire for us. Aside from being a friend, just look at his track record. Look what he built. I’ve been trying for a month and a half to get Matthew to join the company and get him here. He’s almost 90 percent one-stop shopping. Every single thing you think of in building the building, he’s a huge part of it and he built every single property that I worked for in Macau and then some,” he said.
When asked what his initial impressions of Saipan are, Pryor didn’t hesitate and said that BSI could possibly have found a diamond in the rough.
“Fantastic! What a stunning island. It’s absolutely gorgeous. You’ve got great natural assets, great natural infrastructure. Everything. Landscaping. Beautiful. It’s really, really nice. I mean all the basics are there to make great resorts and great projects here.”
Pryor admits, though, that building a multi-billion dollar resort in the middle of the Pacific Ocean poses some challenges.
“You’re in the middle of the Pacific. Obviously you’ll have infrastructure challenges. We’re going to be looking at that. We’ll be working with the utilities company and the local infrastructure to support these developments. You don’t have lots of manufacturing and construction so I’m almost sure we would be importing almost everything. We’ll look at what we can do here and what we can source locally,” he said.
The lack of a local workforce could also be a problem, Pryor said, but added that his and the company’s philosophy have always been to hire locally first.
“If we can find people to help us, if there’re construction workers out there, we’ll hire them. That’s the arrangement we had in Macau, Singapore, and the Philippines. We have to prove to the government that they’re not there before they approve us to get people in,” he said.
In terms of timeline, Pryor said in the next 2-3 months BSI probably would be announcing site specifics on where the company will be building its first project and what that project will entail.
“Hopefully sooner than that,” said a more optimistic Brown, who added that the $100 million Imperial Pacific has so far raised in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange would be able to build half of the first phase.
Brown also confirmed that it has bought the property formerly owned by DFS Saipan in Garapan and that it is currently in talks with the Department of Public Lands to acquire public land facing the beach so it can combine both parcels for its development.
“Considering other parts around the island. The main issue basically is we want to build near the beach. Fiesta [Resort & Spa Saipan] and Hyatt [Regency Saipan] have beautiful beaches in front and have outdoor activities and that’s what we want also,” said Brown.
Pryor reiterated his admiration for Saipan and said that BSI’s development could be a game-changer.
“You have a beautiful island here. You have natural assets that you can’t… no matter what you do in Macau or Singapore you can’t create this and it’s just a fantastic starting point. You can’t create this,” he said.