IN CONTRACT TO OVERSEE SAIPAN CASINO PROJECT
Three bids are in for a construction manager job to oversee Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s sprawling casino project on Saipan, even as the casino company continues months into construction of their $550-million, 14-story Grand Mariana Casino Resort in the heart of Garapan.
Hiring this construction manager was mandated when the exclusive casino license agreement between the CNMI and the casino was signed two years ago in 2014.
The manager is meant to keep the casino project on schedule and keep it in line with license and regulatory requirements, among others. The manager will be a construction or engineering firm to serve as the Commonwealth’s representative on the “Development Plan Advisory Committee,” a working group made up of the engineering firm hired by the casino and a firm with integrated resort experience to represent the CNMI.
The bids closed this May 2, Saipan Tribune learned Wednesday, after an original bid first closed in November with only one submission.
That sole bid, however, was rejected on the grounds of conflict of interest, as a contractor involved in the bid was found to have business ties with Best Sunshine, the Saipan casino, Saipan Tribune gathered yesterday.
The slow-going on the construction manager company, who would have been directly reporting to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, comes as regulatory officials continued to cite through February to April numerous violations of permitting rules meant to prevent runoff and pollution at the casino’s Garapan construction cite.
Among others, regulatory officials have confirmed complaints of casino construction crews defecating on the beach side of the project site.
Regulatory officials have also found, according to Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality files released late April, that the casino company’s construction workers worked through ways to illegally pump the project waste and discharge into the lagoon through deficient runoff and erosion controls discovered unpermitted runoff pipes and ponding basins; and that construction workers had excavated grounds outside their permitted construction site, among others.
Construction workers have also seemingly disobeyed orders to stop working past extended working hours granted by the bureau, despite having the hours pulled a day before. These construction workers continued to work into the night and Sunday, a day where construction is not permitted, in apparent plain sight to regulatory officials, according to these documents.
The Grand Mariana Resort currently eyes a completion date sometime in the first quarter of 2017.
DPAC is set have a three-member committee assigned to review the proposal: a licensed engineer from the Bureau of Environmental and Costal Quality, an engineer from Public Works or the Capital Improvement Office, and an engineer of the casino. DPAC was established to facilitate communication between the CNMI and the licensee, implement license requirements, and implement development schedule.
The committee is responsible for reviewing and advising on the design of the initial gaming facility and the integrated resort.
The CNMI’s representative on the committee will report directly to the CNMI governor.
Once selected, the winning firm would consult the CNMI governor and help steer the ambitious casino project, monitor the casino’s development, and track how it meets project implementation schedules.
Among many others, Best Sunshine must meet requirements inclusive of 2,000 hotel guest rooms; 17,000 square meters of total gaming floor area; 13,532 square meters of food and beverage outlets; 15,000 square meters of retail space; a 600-seat theatre; 9,094 square meters of meeting space, including a ballroom; 200 villas; and a $100-million themed entertainment facility.
According to its exclusive casino licensing agreement, Best Sunshine must complete “Phase 1” of its casino project within 36 months of land acquisition.