Department of Public Lands Secretary Pete A. Tenorio announced Friday that DPL has received, reviewed, and approved Suwaso Corp.’s over $4 million plan to renovate the Coral Ocean Point. Without such a renovation plan and execution, Suwaso’s lease may be terminated.
Tenorio told Saipan Tribune yesterday that $4 million is a “minimum amount,” and could increase should Suwaso need more to complete its renovation.
At the same time, the DPL secretary revealed the names of the seven investors that responded to a request for proposal to lease Marpi and San Antonio public lands to build new hotels with at least 200 rooms each.
These include KSA Corp.; Micronesia Resort Inc.; INNOASSET; Future Enterprises Inc. & Reading Investment & Securities and Korea Asset Investment Corp.; Delta America Inc. & Joong Ang Corp.; Honest Profit International Ltd.; and Tan Holdings Corp.
Tenorio wrote separate letters dated Aug. 28 to six of the participating investors, officially informing them that DPL has decided to accept Tan Holdings’ submission “after considering the facts of this case and general principles of good government.”
Tan Holdings submitted its bid on time, but to a wrong agency. Instead of the Division of Procurement and Supply, it submitted its proposal to DPL.
Tenorio said, “Tan Holdings made a good faith attempt to submit its proposal in a timely manner.”
An inter-agency team to review the seven proposals has yet to meet as of yesterday.
DPL’s Tenorio, in a statement on Friday, said one of the conditions for the continuity of Suwaso’s lease was for it to submit as soon as possible a renovation plan outlining all aspects of improvement to Coral Ocean Point’s facilities.
He said this “will bring the facilities up to standard for occupancy and enjoyment of our visitors.”
Tenorio wrote a May 1 letter to Suwaso, requiring it to submit the renovation plan.
“DPL has recently approved the renovation plans and has given Suwaso up to the end of August this year to commence the renovation and public improvement program. DPL is awaiting a completion schedule [that] will be submitted by Suwaso,” Tenorio said.
Tenorio said DPL also imposed another important condition on Suwaso, requiring it to submit a certification from a local bank attesting to the deposit of over $4 million. “These funds will be reserved to provide for all anticipated cost in connection with the renovation as presented in the plans submitted by Suwaso,” he said.
RFP for public lands lease
DPL issued a first-of-its-kind request for proposal to lease public lands in Marpi and San Antonio to build hotels with at least 200 rooms each.
Some of the seven responding firms, however, made an offer to build hotels on both locations so it does not necessarily mean that there were only seven offers.
One of the seven proposers, Tan Holdings, submitted its proposal to DPL instead of the Division of Procurement and Supply. By the time DPL realized that the proposal in fact needed to be delivered to Procurement, the deadline for submission had already lapsed. Procurement accordingly rejected Tan Holdings’ submission.
Tan Holdings protested the rejection on July 24.
Procurement and Supply director Herman Sablan has determined that it lacks jurisdiction over the RFP and all other revenue-generating leases of public land. Thus, DPL had to decide whether or not to accept Tan Holdings’ proposal.
“After considering both the facts of this case specifically, and principles of good government generally, I have decided that DPL shall accept Tan Holdings’ submission,” Tenorio said in his letters to all the participating groups of investors.
DPL provided copies of the separate letters to the investors on Friday.
Tenorio said Tan Holdings made a good faith attempt to submit its proposal in a timely manner.
“This is not a case in which a bidder made no attempt to submit its proposal until after the relevant deadline had run. To the contrary, Tan Holdings submitted its proposal in a timely manner, but mistakenly submitted the proposal to the incorrect agency. In light of Procurement and Supply’s determination that it lacks jurisdiction, I do not believe that Tan Holdings’ error was unreasonable,” Tenorio said.
“Under these circumstances, I believe an otherwise compliant bidder should be treated with leniency,” Tenorio added. “The fact that the documents were submitted to the wrong office did not, in our opinion, provide any qualitative advantage to the protestor’s proposal over the others, thus giving it an advantage in a selection process.”
The DPL secretary also said as a general principle, the greater the number of proposals under consideration, the greater the likelihood the selection committee will find the most beneficial arrangement for the CNMI.
“I am, however, unwilling to allow a minor defect based on a reasonable mistake to prevent the Selection Committee from considering the greatest number of otherwise compliant proposals,” he added.
Vicente Sablan, consultant for Delta America Inc., one of the competing proposers, is accusing Tan Holdings of pulling strings, insisting that Tan Holdings submitted its proposal several hours late.
“If this incident was done by another company, we know that it never, never admitted if it was submitted late…” he added.
The three public lands that were subject of the RFP total 139,832 square meters—about 49,500 square meters in Marpi; some 49,505 square meters, also in Marpi; and some 40,827 square meters in San Antonio.