The Department of Public Lands selected last week Tan Holdings over E Land’s Micronesia Resort Inc. for a long-term lease of almost 10 hectares of public lands in Marpi, where Tan Holdings proposes to build an over $133 million, 455-room high-end hotel resort.
This is in connection with DPL’s request for proposals for a long-term lease of two lots in Marpi totaling 99,005 square meters. Tan Holdings and E Land’s MRI bested three other investors that also submitted proposals.
DPL’s decision comes after weeks of evaluating the two short-listed companies’ proposals.
Rachel Roque, director of DPL’s Real Estate Division, said yesterday that negotiation on the land lease agreement begins as early as this week.
“Because the two combined lots exceed 5 hectares—reaching almost 10 hectares—the Legislature’s approval will be needed on the draft lease agreement that the parties will negotiate,” Roque told Saipan Tribune.
With tourism arrivals on the upswing once again and hundreds of hotel rooms currently offline, the CNMI needs additional hotel rooms to accommodate a growing number of tourists. This is why DPL issued two RFPs starting in May for a long-term lease of lots in Marpi and San Antonio for the development of new hotels with at least 200 rooms each.
Press secretary Angel Demapan, when sought for comment, said the administration, through DPL, “seeks to spur development of new hotels to accommodate the rising figures in visitor arrivals.”
“DPL, by nature of its duties, is the appropriate authority to lead the negotiation process,” Demapan said.
The department sent the “intent to award” letter to Tan Holdings on Jan. 8.
Jerry Tan, president of Tan Holdings, said yesterday that Tan Holdings is “committed to help grow the CNMI economy and strengthen our lone industry, which is tourism.”
“We are envisioning to build an upscale luxurious resort to further enhance Saipan as a destination, and to add rooms to the CNMI’s hotel room inventory to accommodate additional influx of tourists,” Tan said when sought for comment.
Tan Holdings is one of the largest private sector employers in the CNMI. It owns Fiesta Resort & Spa in Garapan and Kanoa Resort in Susupe, among other hotels and other investments in the CNMI.
Roque said Tan Holdings plans to invest $133.302 million to develop the two lots to provide a total of 544 rooms.
The plan includes the development of an international branded resort, villas, an executive village and 6-star boutique hotels, among other things, Roque said.
The three other investor groups that “did not qualify” as among the short-listed companies for the Marpi lots were Delta America Inc. and Joong Ang Corp.; Honest Profit International Ltd.; and KSA Corp.
DPL Secretary Pete A. Tenorio, in a brief interview on Friday, said an ad-hoc committee is still evaluating the proposals of two short-listed companies that responded to a separate RFP involving the lease of 40,827 square meters in San Antonio also for hotel development.
Tenorio said the proposals are “too competitive.”
The two entities that were short-listed to lease the San Antonio lot were again the South Korea giant E Land’s Micronesia Resort Inc., and the Hong Kong-based Honest Profit International Ltd.
E Land, through MRI, also owns Coral Ocean Point and Pacific Islands Club, among other major hotels in the CNMI.
The other three that didn’t make it to the short list for the San Antonio lot were 1) KSA Corp., 2) INNOASSET, and 3) Future Ent. Inc. & Reading Investment & Securities and Korea Asset Investment Corp.
The five-member ad-hoc evaluation and selection committee is comprised of representatives from DPL, Zoning Office, departments of Public Works and Commerce, and the Marianas Visitors Authority.