MVA wants to relocate to Garapan

THE Marianas Visitors Authority plans to relocate its main office to the current site of the Garapan fire station.

But MVA Managing Director Chris Concepcion said this depends on whether the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services will move the fire station to the Commonwealth Health Center area which, he added, requires the approval of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

Concepcion said MVA, which has been renting office space for decades, must now have a permanent home on its own property.

Christopher Attao Concepcion

He said the new MVA office will have a small visitor center.

“Our design plan includes a small space for local artwork, brochures and maps, and other items that will showcase the beauty of the CNMI to visitors and residents,” he added.

Concepcion said they have very limited funding for the proposed permanent office.

“It is sourced solely from our share of the hotel occupancy tax, which we note is being cut by the Legislature for fiscal year 2018.”

The new office and visitor center will cost more than $3 million, he added.

“We hope to be the first ever LEED certified building in the CNMI which will save us tons of money on utility costs in the long run,” he said.

LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

“At this time we do not have enough funding for [a new office] so our plans are on hold,” Concepcion said.

Still, he said they want to move to Garapan because it is the main commercial center of Saipan.

“It is the heart of the tourist district with several hotels, shopping centers, restaurants and other businesses,” Concepcion said.

“As we are the tourism organization for the CNMI government, it’s only proper that we are located at the center of our tourist district.”

Concepcion said they are hopeful that DFEMS and CHCC will come to an agreement soon in relocating the Garapan fire station to the hospital area.

Concepcion said they already received verbal support from the Department of Public Lands on granting MVA the right to use the Garapan fire station property for its office.

“We are now waiting for DFEMS to give us the green light,” he added.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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