Macau casino operator SJM will spend HK$5 billion more than it originally budgeted on its new East-meets-West Lisboa Palace project in Cotai because of a labour crunch and increased construction costs. A year ago, the management had estimated the resort complex would cost HK$25 billion. It has now revised the figure to HK$30 billion. The company hopes the project will help it regain market share once it opens in 2017. "We don't think that we are late [for Cotai]," said Ambrose So Shu-fai, the chief executive of SJM, at the groundbreaking ceremony. "The infrastructure of the Pearl River Delta is due to [be] completed in three years. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge is [scheduled to be] completed in 2016. It's just in time to catch the traffic." We don’t think that we are late [for Cotai] … It’s just in time to catch the traffic AMBROSE SO, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SJM SJM, founded by Stanley Ho Hung-sun, has been slow to develop in the Cotai area, which is dominated by Las Vegas companies. The Lisboa Palace will be the last new property of all the six casino operators to open. Macau hotels have been operating at near 100 per cent occupancy and casino operators are faced with limited growth potential until a slew of new resorts open up starting at the end of this year. The Lisboa Palace is near the airport and next to the Macau East Asian Games Dome. It is also next to Wynn's new development called Wynn Palace. However, SJM said it was not concerned about its neighbour bearing a similar name. "Wynn is Wynn. This is Lisboa. If you tell the taxi driver you want to go to Lisboa Palace, they won't take you to Wynn Palace, and vice versa," So said. The SJM-owned resort will house about 2,000 hotel rooms spread across three hotels: Lisboa Palace Hotel, Palazzo Versace Macau and another fashion-branded luxury hotel that has yet to be announced. The complex, styled after 18th century French architecture but with elements of chinoiserie, will be more than 90 per cent non-gaming. It includes a wedding pavilion and a summer palace. SJM is betting on its own design to attract gamblers to its property in contrast to American rivals such as Sands, which duplicates its Vegas properties, first with the Venetian Macau and with the soon to be opened Parisian resort complete with a 160-metre tall replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. "We are not copying others' models because you see the original design in Palace is not something that you have known before. It's not a property that you can have in any part of the world. It's very original, very authentic. We want to bring this entire experience to the people of Macau and tourists from abroad," So said. "Eiffel Tower is a very strong icon but they can go to Paris and look at the authentic one. Why do you need to go to a museum? You don't want to see replicas."