Alter City Group Holdings Ltd. has tucked in another $60 million to its proposal to build a casino resort on Tinian.
In a letter to the Legislature, Department of Public Lands Secretary Pete A. Tenorio said the Macau-based investor has made known its intention to increase its original planned investment on the island from $300 million to $360 million.
“The updated proposal is not included in the lease, but is submitted simply to show future commitment of the lessee to increase its investment amount,” Tenorio stated in letters to House Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) and Senate President Ralph Dlg. Torres (R-Saipan).
Tenorio said it’s not unusual for investors to scale up their projected investment after they make an on-site evaluation of the property.
“The minimum initial investment was at $200 million but they evaluated and reviewed the land again and added amenities and they committed $300 million under the lease agreement. That’s the amount they’re committed to spend. The modified proposal together with requesting approval was just to notify the Legislature that in the future the company wants to invest more, which is $360 million,” Tenorio said in a phone interview with Saipan Tribune.
“It’s good for us. The more they invest, the better for us. But we’re not really committing them to invest the $360 million modified proposal. We’re committing them to the $300 million,” added Tenorio.
The extra $60 million, he said, may go to expand the resort area and the construction of more hotel rooms and other amenities. Also probable extra expenses are shipping of additional equipment.
“It’s really up for them to decide on what improvements they want on the supplemental $60 million additional investment,” Tenorio added.
Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ public information officer, Ivan Blanco, said Alter City Group’s modified investment proposal only shows the Macau-based company’s continued confidence in the future of the CNMI economy and tourism market.
“The increases by Alter City—license fee from $100,000 to $300,000, plus the advance license fee payment, which is a total of $600,000, the initial investment of $200 million to $300 million, and now from $300 million to $360 million—signals a significant confidence in our economy and in the tourism sector.”
Alter City Group’s increased investment, Blanco said, mirrors the confidence also exuded by Jeju Air, Honest Profit International, Ltd., and Best Sunshine International, Ltd., which also recently made their own separate forays into the local economy.
Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz, meanwhile, welcomed the increased investment of Alter City Group. “Investors, once they come over, they first look at the area and once they go back and put together the business plan, the design, and everything, those figures do change. After revision on design they decided that another $60 million is realistic on their proposal.”
Dela Cruz said this means not only more employment opportunities for Tinian’s local residents but also additional economic activities.
“We can now be able maintain and keep our tourists longer on Tinian because of this,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Alter City Group plans to build its casino resort at Puntan Diablo, also known as Nasarino, on Tinian.
It is the same area that was previously leased by Marianas Resort Development Corp., or MRDC, before the latter abandoned the lease. MRDC had planned to build a $300-million Matua Bay Casino Resort on the property, including an 18-hole golf course.