Global theme parks, a “skybridge,” and a sprawling hotel and casino resort complex with a total of 6,000 hotel rooms, villas, and serviced apartments form part of the master plan of Macau-based Alter City Group for Tinian.
Representatives of the company, headed by its managing director Ken Lin, met with Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and other CNMI officials on Friday to present a check of $1.2 million as partial payment for the firm’s major siting permit for its casino resort on Tinian.
According to Lin, the payment of the siting permit is “just the start” of developments for Alter City.
The executive added that from 200,000 square meters, the company is now looking to develop on 700,000 square meters of land it has leased with the government.
Lin said global theme parks such as LegoLand, Hello Kitty Land, and 21st Century Fox, and a “skybridge” connecting Tinian to other islands via an “aero bus” are all on the table for Alter City.
“From roughly 2,500 rooms, we are now planning for 6,000 rooms. We are also talking with airlines,” Lin said.
He said the construction of the hotel resort is planned for 12 years.
Payment of the siting fees is required by the CNMI through the Division of Coastal Resources Management office.
The company secured from the government last year a lease on a 152-hectare Tinian land.
The development is in three phases and includes the construction of hotel rooms, water parks, an 18-hole golf course, villas, casino facilities, and related tourism amenities.
In November 2014, a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously approved the public land lease. Alter City Group plans to build its casino resort at Puntan Diablo, also known as Nasarino, on Tinian.
Alter City also plans to apply for a qualifying certificate to enjoy tax breaks.
The CNMI government’s QC program offers tax-based investment incentives. However, casinos are not included on the list of potential investors for the QC program.
In the Senate, a bill was introduced last week proposing to amend Public Law 18-56 to include gaming companies to enjoy the tax breaks. Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R- Tinian) introduced the bill “to clarify” the QC program. The bill will be up for discussion.
Lin said the QC “can help us a lot in our import and export business.”
The executive said with a lot total of 700,000 square meters of construction in the next 10 to 12 years, there will be a lot of materials coming in.
“In the next 10 to 12 years, there will be a lot of materials coming in the CNMI. About 80 percent will be from China and Korea,” Lin said, noting that Alter City will use as much materials from local sources, particularly in the building of foundations for the planned structures.
He said Alter City plans to apply for the QC program, adding that Alter City’s hotel and other facilities might be qualified.
Proposed military “live-fire” exercises on some parts of Tinian are a cause of concern for Alter City.
Lin said his group has been asked a number of times regarding the proposed military exercises. The executive said that, instead of a wait-and-see approach, “we decided as a team to move forward with the project.”
Lin said Alter City representatives attended the public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement held on Tinian to air their concerns.
Alter City was the only investor present at the hearing, he said.
He emphasized that the company has nothing against the military, but the proposed live-fire exercises “might limit” the group’s development, and its investments.
“We raised our concern because we are trying to build a world-class, peaceful resort. Noise is one of our concerns,” Lin said.
He said Alter City’s partial payment of $1.2 million affirms that company’s commitment to continue to invest.
Lin, meanwhile, added that an open dump site in the leased area is also still a concern.
The executive said Alter City “will help in funding,” but it still needs to work with the Tinian’s Mayor Office to finalize plans to relocate the dump site.
Lin said the first phase of its resort casino is slated in the next three to four years, and the company does not want to build near a dump site.