The R4 billion ($283m) Time Square casino and hotel complex in Pretoria will open on schedule in April 2017 according to developers, speaking this week.

The new casino will be the second largest in South Africa after GrandWest Casino in Cape Town, with 2,000 slot machines and 60 tables. Time Square is the biggest hospitality, gaming and leisure industry development since the construction of Sun International’s GrandWest Casino in 2000.

Construction began in September 2013 and the casino will open in April next year with the 8,000-seater entertainment arena five months later and the hotel complex is on track to open in March 2018.

Sun International is behind the scheme at Menlyn Maine, which has created thousands of new job opportunities and economic benefits to the city and the country during the four-year build and more than 1,000 permanent staff will be employed next year, says Michael Farr, the group general manager of band and communications at Sun International.

He said this week that an estimated 10,000 people have been employed during the construction phase - direct and indirect - and added that 1,230 direct permanent jobs were expected to be created when the casino opened, which included the jobs transferred from the Morula Sun to the north of Pretoria.

“About 2,200 permanent jobs will be created, including those people and other permanent jobs that were created by the various service providers and concessionaires that opened businesses at Time Square,” he told Business News.

Farr added that Sun International had made a commitment to absorb all the staff from the Morula Sun when the casino licence was transferred to Menlyn Maine. The Morula Sun has a staff complement of about 600 people.

He said: “This will be the first and only formally accredited and internationally affiliated hotel and gaming academy in southern Africa. Students will be able to get certified hospitality, gaming and tourism management training in the form of either a certificate, diploma, degree or post graduate degrees or participate in a management executive programme,” he said.

Apart from the jobs created by the Time Square development, Farr said it was anticipated that about $120m (R1.7bn) in gaming taxes and VAT would be generated in the first five years of operation at Menlyn Maine.

“The total estimated revenue to government from the project over a five-year period is estimated at about R2.7bn ($191m),” he said.

Time Square will also offer a new concept in hospitality by offering a range of hotel accommodation in a single building. “It will be a four to five-star hotel, but offer 96 rooms at a three-star grading, 94 rooms at a four-star grading and 48 rooms and suites at a five-star grading.

“I’m not aware of any hotel in South Africa that does that within a single structure. It means that somebody buying three-star room will be able to get the price point relative to that grading but in a hotel somewhere between a four and five hotel. They will enjoy premium luxury facilities but can choose a grade of room,” he said.

The Sun International casino and hotel development will become a focal point of the Menlyn Maine precinct, which also includes the R1.8bn Central Square that officially opened in September.

PICS: SA to get R4bn Time Square in Pretoria at
Time Square to create thousands of jobs at