Earthmoving ceremony celebrates economic promise for Tinian
TINIAN—Alter City Group, the investors planning to build a world class resort on prime Tinian coastline property, brought an impressive display of banners, stages, dance, and pomp to a earthmoving ceremony for their touted $1.2-billion project, targeted to begin construction by the end of this year, according to ACG officials yesterday.
ACG welcomed dozens of guests and dignitaries including Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Cabinet heads, and VIP investors from China and more than a dozen representatives from media companies from Hong Kong and Macau to witness the event that took place on their Puntan Diablo property yesterday afternoon.
Despite the sweltering heat, officials remained upbeat, and touted the promise the project had, which will also include casino gaming, in store for Tinian.
“Today we are honored to be working with Tinian, the CNMI government, and its people…to establish a new international entertainment and holiday nation here on the island, the new Alter City resort,” said ACG chair and president Kin Ian Leong, through a translator.
“We believe it will be loved by investors and guests. Our corporate team will begin legacies. The investment for this project is more than $12 million. Divided into three sections, our plan is to complete [it] in 12 years,” Leong added.
Chief executive officer Edvon Sze says they target beginning construction by the end of the fourth quarter this year.
He said in order to get their earthmoving permit they have to have all the technical drawings construction drawing, including soil and erosion controls, among others.
“In these next couple of months, we are going to be very busy…So hopefully by the fourth quarter, we can able to get everything and be able to start construction” and, “hopefully, within two or three years’ time we can complete our Phase 1,” Sze told Saipan Tribune in an interview after the event.
Alter City has said they plan to erect 250 luxurious villas in Phase 1 of its project, together with a casino, 5-star hotels, and a golf course.
Managing director Ken Lin said the day was a good one.
“This is just the first step, the hard work starts now,” Lin told Saipan Tribune.
He added it took them “day and night for about a month” to set up the venue for the ceremony, which includes large displays of company banners shipped from mainland China, a large stage, and photo podium, among others. “Starting from the ground. We were standing on a lot of bushes and trees and starting from the ground, getting a permit, getting a tent, and getting all the things organized. Everything you see here had to be shipped.”
Lin said they would start with getting permits for construction and working in detail with construction companies on constructions designs. “Everything else is going to move very quickly from now on… Once the construction goes…it is going to be fast here, it’s going to be a good one.”
“Today is a historic day,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres during his remarks. “Today we do an earthmoving ceremony for Tinian, for the people of Tinian. This permit has been approved a couple of years ago. We are here celebrating hard work that has been done.
For the people of Tinian, you guys need leadership. And this is the leadership you have,” Torres said, acknowledging Tinian lawmakers involved at the beginning of the project.
“As we move forward, this is the leadership that will take care of Tinian’s economy. I urge that you continue to support the leadership that you have, because this is the fruit of the work that has been done,” Torres said.
Also turning to ACG officials, Torres said, “When you succeed, we succeed.”
Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas extended his congratulations to ACG’s achievement. “Today’s event is no small feat. To get to this point, Alter City Group endured many months of hard work to their vision of a better and brighter Tinian,” he said, thanking ACG for their many donations and constant presence in the community.
“I applaud Alter City for their unwavering commitment to our community and I thank you for believing in Tinian’s potential,” said San Nicolas.
Lt. Gov. Hocog, for his part, thanked ACG “for choosing this small island…to invest the many dollars that you want to gamble this investment.” He said it’s been long days and months to realize work that’s started since the project began in 2013 and extended the administration’s support in placing “priority” on the development.
“It’s a great feeling for the people of Tinian,” said Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian). “We are very excited since the get go of this project and up to this day. Moving forward, we stand ready to support this venture with Tinian. I want to thank the administration, Gov. Torres and Lt. Gov. Hocog, for blessing this project and this investment for the people of Tinian. Because at the end of the day, the CNMI would benefit with the success of Alter City Group. I’d like to ACG and we look forward to better days for the island of Tinian,” he told Saipan Tribune.
“As mayor of Tinian, I am very proud of the accomplishments of Alter City Group. They are true stewards of our community, having contributed so many ways to the community of Tinian,” San Nicolas said in an interview. “And now with the earthmoving and the eventual ground breaking and construction and hopefully ribbon cutting in the future, Tinian is posed to move forward in its development plans.
“On behalf of the leadership, we thank the officials of ACG, all the employees and staff who made today’s event a success. We stand to assist development on Tinian in anyway. And our door is always open,” he added.