04 Aug 2017
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
THE Commonwealth Casino Commission says that under the amended casino license agreement, the Imperial Pacific Resort, also known as the Initial Gaming Facility in Garapan, will be completed in August 2018 and not in 2023 as earlier reported.
In an interview on Thursday, Commission Executive Director Edward Deleon Guerrero said the Phase One project is in Marpi or in the northern part of the island and not the existing project in Garapan.
He said the hotel aspect of the Garapan facility — the Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel-Saipan or IPR — will consist of 15 villas and 329 hotel rooms. He reiterated that it is not the Phase One project but the Initial Gaming Facility.
The Garapan casino-resort project was supposed to be completed this year, but due to several factors, completion of the construction was delayed. This prompted the Lottery Commission to amend the license agreement to extend the completion date deadline to no later than Aug. 31, 2018.
The Phase One project, which will include 800 rooms in a four-to-five star luxury hotel, will be completed no later than Aug. 13, 2023.
The Phase Two project, which will also consist of 875 rooms, will be completed no later than Aug. 13, 2028.
“In the beginning,” Deleon Guerrero said, “Public Law 18-56 required the licensee to construct 2,000 rooms and invest a minimum of $2 billion and the rooms at the IPR are not to be counted, but they amended it to include the IPR rooms in the 2,000 required rooms that are to be constructed. Right now, IPI doesn’t yet have the lease for Marpi, and they are still working on it. The property is still under lease by Kan Pacific.”
In a statement, the administration reiterated Gov. Ralph Torres’s earlier statement that the extended deadlines for Phases One and Two are in line with his goal of sustainable development.
“Extending the deadline for the completion of Phases One and Two allows time for the government to properly and efficiently build the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the new amenities and resources that will be available for both tourists and our community to use and enjoy. From the very beginning of this new venture, our main goal has been to properly balance the needs of a growing economy and our unique environmental resources,” Governor Torres said.
The administration also underscores the significance of the extended deadlines in that it will allow enough time for IPI to properly go through the permitting process, and ensure there will be additional and efficient enforcement throughout the process.
“It is important that we ensure the success of IPI so that we can continue to grow our economy sustainably and foster a market where new small businesses can pop up and new industries can add to our community’s economic success,” Torres said.
Amendment No. 5 to the license agreement also included a commitment from Imperial Pacific to pay its annual contribution of $20 million to the Community Benefit Fund.
The Community Benefit Fund is an important element of the licensee development proposal requirements, in which the licensee provides for an annual contribution of $20 million toward community programs, education, scholarships, infrastructure, healthcare, and employee retirement benefits.
The initial language in the license agreement states that contributions to the Community Benefit Fund would only begin following the first year of operations by the licensee’s first hotel in the Integrated Resort (Phase One).
Now, as a result of Amendment No. 5, the agreement guarantees not only the contributions of $10 million no later than January 1, 2018 and another $10 million no later than June 1, 2018, but also the annual contribution of $20 million to the fund for every year of the license agreement starting on or before October 1, 2019.
Governor Torres underscored the significance of making sure that the annual contributions to the Community Benefit Fund remained in line, despite not having Phase One completed.
“In the Lottery Commission’s process of amending the [license agreement], the Community Benefit Fund was an element, where we took a firm stance. We are very pleased that we were able to secure a guarantee of the annual contribution of $20 million to the fund, so that we can address not only the government’s longstanding obligations, but also fund infrastructure projects, address our utility needs, provide better health care services, more educational resources for the Public School System, Northern Marianas College and our vocational institutions, and continue to pay our retirees their benefits.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/97447-imperial-pacific-resort-in-garapan-to-be-completed-in-2018