Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-5:57:37P.M.






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1,700 hotel rooms in Tanapag to be credited to IPI

UP to 1,700 hotel rooms that American Sinopan will build in Tanapag will be credited to Imperial Pacific International, IPI Chief Executive Officer Mark Brown said.

Brown and IPI owner Ji Xiaobo joined American Sinopan LLC in a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Imperial Casha on Middle Road in Tanapag on Saturday.

Earlier this month, Inside Asian Gaming online news reported that IPI had acquired a 50 percent stake in American Sinopan LLC, a Hong Kong-based company.

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Imperial Casha Chief Executive Officer Liu Tao delivers his remarks on Saturday at the project site in Tanapag.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano
From left, Imperial Pacific International Chief Executive Officer Mark Brown, Commonwealth Casino Commission Chairman Juan M. Sablan, Lt.  Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and IPI owner Ji Xiaobo turn over dirt during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Imperial Casha project in Tanapag on Saturday.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

On Saturday, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Imperial Casha CEO Liu Tao delivered their remarks prior to the groundbreaking ceremony that was witnessed by about 200 visitors who arrived from China a couple of days earlier.

Also present was Commonwealth Casino Commission Chairman Juan M. Sablan.

In an interview, Brown passed on the question to Sablan who stood next to him. The question was, “Can these rooms be credited to IPI’s room-count requirement?”

Although Sablan said he had to once again look at the amended casino license agreement to give a definite answer, he nodded his head.

“The chairman of the CCC just said yes,” Brown told reporters.

In May, the Lottery Commission granted IPI’s request to credit the casino investor with rooms that will be built by its partners or investors at future development sites. The casino law requires IPI to build a 2,000-room integrated resort.

Brown said IPI is still waiting for a land lease agreement with the government so it can move ahead with Phase 1 of its project at the site of the former Mariana Resort in Marpi.

“We have been waiting years and years, that is why we went to private land,” he added.

IPI wants to lease the Marpi land, but in April the Department of Public Land said it could only allow IPI to manage the former Mariana Resort property while lease negotiations continued.

The proposed land lease agreement between IPI and DPL is being reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office, Variety was told.

So for now, Brown said “we’re building on an unbelievably beautiful site with over a thousand rooms.”

He said the construction of Imperial Casha “creates excitement and investments for Saipan” which is good for the local economy.

In his remarks, Lt. Governor Palacios said the administration welcomes new investors and visitors as the community continues to recover from natural disasters.

“This groundbreaking ceremony is another promising sign of economic recovery for our islands,” he added. “This morning we celebrate the cooperation and partnerships that will strengthen our economic development. This groundbreaking ceremony will unveil one of the core projects of IPI that will build upon quality visitor infrastructure on our island.”

Palacios said the CNMI government is committed to rebuilding the local economy and the Commonwealth.