The Yokohama municipal government has launched its RFC process for private businesses interested in developing Yamashita Pier into a major urban IR.
This site, with its easy access to the 38 million population of the greater Tokyo area, is the most sought after among all IR locations in Japan at the present time, and it can be expected to remain so short of a bid by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government itself.
Yokohama is asking businesses to register to enter the process by October 30 and to submit all of their concept proposals by December 23. Discussions between city officials and individual firms will take place in the first quarter of next year.
Yokohama is thought likely to select its IR operator partner in 2021, aiming to be licensed by the central government and to open the doors of the facility sometime in the late 2020s. The total investment costs will possibly top $10 billion.
In the current RFC, Yokohama is asking for ideas from three distinct classes of company: casino operators with a track record of IR development; domestic real estate developers and general contractors; and firms aiming to supply new technologies for use in the IR.
IR operators regarded as highly likely to enter the Yokohama selection contest are Galaxy, Genting, Sands, Melco, Sega Sammy, and Wynn.
Two others which have previously withdrawn from Yokohama are Caesars, which has entirely pulled out of the Japan race in order to focus on its domestic US market, and MGM, which has a strategy of showing full commitment to the Osaka Yumeshima site.