Anticipating a construction boom on Saipan, a company is renovating the former barracks of a defunct garment factory in Tanapag to house construction workers.
The CNMI Zoning Board on Monday night unanimously approved the conditional use application of Castle Project (CNMI) LLC to renovate the existing warehouse structures formerly used by Top Fashion Garment Factory as a barracks for their employees.
Zoning Board administrator Therese Ogumoro presented to the board Castle Project’s renovation and restoration of the four buildings to create 136 housing units.
Concerned citizen Paul Zak questioned why the company is just applying now for a zoning permit when it has already started renovation work.
Zoning Board chair Diego Blanco said they caught the company already remodeling but that they understand that such thing happens. He said the Zoning Office already checked if the company has other necessary permits.
Attorney Michael Dotts, counsel for Castle Projects, said the structures used to be Top Fashion’s factory and housing that was occupied by 300 workers.
Dotts said the plan is to have four people occupy per unit.
Dotts said the company is making sure that they are in compliance with OSHA and Department of Public Works regulations in terms of occupancy limits.
“This company is putting a lot of money to meet standards, to exceed CNMI standards,” he said.
Castle Projects’ estimated budget for the project is $550,000.
Dotts said the dormitories would initially be used to house male construction workers. The units will later be used to house hotel workers as the project “will move with the flow,” he said.
Dotts said the reality is that there is shortage of housing on Saipan so the company’s project will meet the housing shortage.
Responding to concerns about the lack of parking spaces, Dotts said this is industrial housing and so workers will be provided transportation to their jobsites.
Board member Bruce Bateman said he is happy to approve the application. Board chair Blanco and members Joe Ayuyu Jr. and Herman Sablan all voted in favor of the application.