$164M hotel wants to start construction in March

The Zoning Board officials and the community attend the public hearing at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Hall on the application of American Sinopan LLC for the construction of a hotel in Tanapag. (Bea Cabrera)

The CNMI Zoning board has granted a conditional permit to American Sinopan LLC so it could begin building its proposed $144.3-million hotel in Tanapag.

The permit comes with several conditions to ensure that the project complies with the rural and adjacent residential zones of the area.

The board held a public hearing on Sinopan’s application last Aug. 9, 2017, at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Hall.

Zoning Administrator The-rese T. Ogumorro said, “If the Zoning board finds that the use of American Sinopan is compatible [with the area], then Zoning staff will recommend the approval of this application after applicant fulfills the Zoning Office’s conditions.”

The Zoning board is composed of board chair Diego Blanco, vice chair Bruce Bateman, treasurer Mariano Taitano, secretary Joe Ayuyu Jr., and member Joel Camacho.

“We feel that the hard work starts now,” said American Sinopan LLC chief executive officer Ken Lin. “Getting approval from the board is a good start to complete all other agency requirements. All the conditions the Zoning Office asked are doable because those are the basic things to follow and submit.”

“As for the rest of the conditions, we’re talking about the design. The reason why the design is not yet finalized is we need to have the hotel brand. We do have our own thoughts but we are in continuous talks with international brands and we want them to give us an input,” he added.

America Sinopan is in talks with hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriot, and Starwood and business hotel/service apartment brands such as Embassy Suite, Home2, Ascott, and Somerset.

“Saipan needs an international brand. Having an international hotel brand on island it is a good statement for the CNMI. It’s good for people and boosts tourism,” Lin said.

American Sinopan selected the Tanapag area to build a garden resort-themed hotel to make it distinct from other hotels on island that are mostly situated by the beach.

“Tanapag is the gateway to the north of Saipan, accessible because it is just a short distance from Garapan, it has lush greenery perfect for the garden hotel concept, and the warm hospitality of the people in the community,” Lin said.

“We plan not only to build a hotel in the area but to help the community by creating jobs and giving them livelihood. We promise community development for the people of Tanapag,” he said.

According to the company’s application, the resort would include a main lobby and administrative building, two restaurants, two hotel dining buildings, two apartment buildings with one clubhouse facility, two staff housing with one cafeteria, three swimming pools, parking, landscaping, site lighting, and water, sewer and power infrastructure.

The entire development cost of the Saipan Garden Resort is $164 million and the total investment of American Sinopan LLC to date is $6.45 million.

“We start construction in the latter part of the first quarter next year and we are looking at two years to build the hotel. When everything is in place, we are projecting that operations will generate $14 million worth of hotel tax and $6 million worth of food and beverage tax, which amounts to $20 million that will go to the CNMI yearly,” Lin said.

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