Department of Public Lands Secretary Pete Tenorio is recommending “alternative” leasing agreements with hotels with expiring public land leases with the government.
According to Tenorio, he met with officials of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands on Thursday to address some of the concerns of hotel investors, particularly on the leasing extensions.
One topic during the discussion, Tenorio said, is to allow the hotels to get an extension on a portion of the public land that they are leasing now.
However, this alternative agreement will entail legislative approval. “We are looking at possibilities, and there are no guarantees,” Tenorio said.
Another alternative leasing agreement he suggested is where the hotels can terminate their respective leases and apply for another long-term lease.
But again, these alternatives will need support of the Legislature.
“The onus is not with DPL, but with legislators,” Tenorio said, adding that once these hotels are able to draft a leasing proposal, DPL and the hotels can then consult with legislators and move from there.
The official was quick to add that these alternative leasing agreements are “exploratory” discussions.
The leases of Mariana Resort and Spa, Fiesta Resort and Spa Saipan, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, and Kanoa Resort are close to expiring, the HANMI earlier said.
Mariana Resort’s public land lease expires on April 30, 2018, but it is pursuing a new lease with a commitment of some $30 million in added investment.
HANMI also said some of its members are holding back on making future investments on their hotels if they cannot get any assurances that their land lease agreements will be extended.
Without such an assurance, hotels whose public land leases are close to expiration say the uncertainty is putting a damper on their plans to improve amenities and raise hotel standards.
HANMI president Gloria Cavanagh said that right now there has been very little communication regarding the lease proposal that Mariana Resort and Spa turned in back in August 2014.
Cavanagh said proposals have been turned in at the end of June but there are still no feedback from the DPL and the government.