$130M hotel project down to 30 workers

The main buildings of Honest Profit International Ltd.’s $130-million, 312-room hotel project in San Antonio are already up. Construction has slowed down as only 30 foreign workers are left. Typhoon Soudelor and Super Typhoon Yutu in 2015 and 2018 also damaged the hotel complex project. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Construction of the Honest Profit International Ltd.’s $130-million, 312-room hotel project in San Antonio continues but the pace has severely slowed down, with only 30 foreign workers left, it was learned from sources yesterday.

Saipan Tribune has been seeking an update on the hotel project, but the Hong Kong-based Honest Profit International has refused to comment.

Sources disclosed that the project was zipping along smoothly four years ago when it had at its peak about 400 foreign construction workers, all of them Chinese. That number has been going down over since then and, from the only 40 Chinese workers who remained last week, it’s now down to 30 this week after more workers left the CNMI due to expired CW-1 permits.

All of the workers are employed with the contractor, Win Win Way Construction Co. Saipan Inc., sources said.

No one from Win Win Way Construction Co. was available to comment yesterday. It was not immediately learned why the project has no local construction workers.

The groundbreaking for the five-star hotel complex, which was supposed to include five villas, was held in September 2014.

Sources said that the project’s manpower reached 400 in 2015. As a result, the first phase of the project was completed in the latter part of that year.

In August 2015, Typhoon Soudelor stymied the project. In 2017, only 200 Chinese workers were left after Filipino construction workers were barred from the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker visa program. The number of foreign workers has decreased further due to lack of CW workers.

Sources said construction further slowed down after Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation in October 2018, which also damaged the project.

A source said the remaining workers have lately been installing window panes.

“Construction is very slow, but is moving on,” the source said.

Honest Profit is said to be targeting the latter part of next year as the project’s completion date. The original target completion date was 2018.

The hotel complex has three big buildings, which are already up. The villa buildings have also been completed. Interior work in the buildings are ongoing.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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