Acting Department of Public Lands secretary Ray Salas said yesterday that E Land is “interested” in leasing some 34,000 square meters of public lands in San Antonio to build a new hotel resort, months after the Korean investor group bought The Palms Resort in San Roque.
Salas said he met with E Land officials late last month to discuss the investor's plan for the property, previously planned for a $30-million, 300-room condominium-hotel resort by another investor, Pacific Investment and Development Corp./Pacific Realty and Management Corp.
“So far there is no formal proposal yet from E Land on the land lease but we're hoping they will pursue this. If they pursue it, it will be welcome development for the CNMI,” Salas told Saipan Tribune.
Salas said there are no information yet how large the planned hotel is or how much E Land is willing to invest to develop the property.
The Department of Public Lands, he said, is always ready to assist investors interested in leasing public lands for their projects.
House Commerce and Tourism Committee chair Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan) separately said yesterday that “it's always good to see investors still interested in investing in the CNMI.”
“Hopefully this does come true and that it is a sign of things to come. By that, I mean an increase in the number of visitors to our islands,” Villagomez said.
DPL previously gave Pacific Investment a temporary authorization for entry to the San Antonio property that E Land is now interested in.
But because Pacific Investment has not submitted requirements such as a financial plan and engineering and architecture design to develop the area some two years later, DPL decided to revoke that temporary authorization and made the land available to other investors interested, most recently E Land.
E Land Park bought Palms Resort Saipan and other assets from United Micronesia Development Association Inc. for $20 million. E Land Park is one of the many subsidiaries of E Land Group of Companies operating in China and South Korea.
Salas said one other major investor interested in leasing a large tract of land is the Sunshine 100. But just like E Land, there's not been any formal request yet to lease the land.
Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos earlier said Sunshine 100's investments in the CNMI could be as high as $1 billion. The four-phased project is expected to include a five-star hotel in the former location of Far East Broadcasting overlooking the western coast of Saipan.
It will also include high-rise residential and commercial condominiums targeting high-end markets. The project area encompasses the site formerly leased by Flame Sako north of The Palms Resort all the way to Wing Beach and on to the former Far East Broadcasting location.