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Chinese investors mull replicating Titanic on Tinian

TINIAN — An investment group composed of Chinese investors is thinking about building a replica of the ill-fated Titanic on Tinian.

Tinian Chamber of Commerce president Philip Mendiola Long, right, and Commonwealth Ports Authority Tinian Resident Director Joseph Mendiola, third right, pose with the executives of Bridge Investment Group after the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on Dec. 3.  Contributed photoTinian Chamber of Commerce president Philip Mendiola Long, right, and Commonwealth Ports Authority Tinian Resident Director Joseph Mendiola, third right, pose with the executives of Bridge Investment Group after the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on Dec. 3. Contributed photo
A release issued by Canbo International Ltd. last week on its website stated the planned reproduction of the ill-fated ship and posted pictures of the signing of the memorandum of understanding between them and the Commonwealth Ports Authority.

The MOU was signed on Dec. 3 at the Westin Hotel in Beijing.

The project, the website stated, would engage in the construction of a Titanic Hotel on Tinian’s waterfront which is affiliated with the CPA.

Present at the signing of the MOU were CPA Tinian Director Joseph Mendiola and Tinian Chamber of Commerce President Philip Mendiola Long.

The investors were represented by American Bridge Investment Group president Howard Li, executive director Eric Wang and managing member Silvia Siu.

Canbo further revealed on the website that the planned construction of the 5-star hotel involves 300 luxury rooms and would reproduce the Titanic on a 1:1 scale.

It also said that direct flights from China to Tinian are expected in 2015 upon completion of the hotel.

The investors claim they will bring about 100,000 mainland Chinese tourists to the CNMI as soon as the hotel begins operations.

Tinian Chamber of Commerce president Philip Mendiola-Long said the MOU with CPA relates to the ports authority’s taking the step to check its legal authority with reference to the lease of the property in its inventory.

“CPA does have properties available,” said Mendiola-Long.

He said CPA would look at the proposals and see if these could be accommodated.

The investors will be pitching their proposals to CPA and the CNMI government.

Mendiola-Long told Variety that they are still in the early stages of the negotiations.

The investors, he said, are looking at between $50 million and $90 million in investments “depending on the size of the project.”

He also said that the project would proceed in three phases.

He said the proposed investment is tied up with the USCIS EB-5 program.

According to the USCIS website, the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 (Oct. 6, 1992), and has been extended through Sept. 30, 2012.

EB-5 requirements for an investor under the Pilot Program are essentially the same as in the standard EB-5 investor program, except the Pilot Program provides for investments that are affiliated with an economic unit known as a ‘Regional Center,’” the website stated.

Investments made through regional centers can take advantage of a more expansive concept of job creation including both “indirect” and “direct” jobs.

Mendiola-Long said that their American Northern Marianas Regional Center will be engaged in the effort to bring investors to stimulate the economy.

He noted that the EB-5 program expedites provision of “green card” benefits to those who invest in depressed areas of the U.S.