Inos eyes more investments in NMI


Besides an expected Saipan casino resort with at least 2,000 guest rooms, the construction of two new hotels on public lands in Marpi and San Antonio and reopening of the former The Palms Resort under the global hotel brand Sheraton, Gov. Eloy S. Inos said yesterday there are other new investments on the horizon. He said these could include a new hotel in Garapan associated with DFS Galleria and another unique tourist attraction from Baldyga Group LLC.

The governor said he met Friday with Guam Visitors Bureau board chair Mark Baldyga, founder and president of Baldyga Group LLC that owns, among others, SandCastle Guam, SandCastle Saipan, and Sea Touch LLC, wherein Baldyga disclosed plans to develop other tourism-related attractions on Saipan.

“Mr. Baldyga wanted to do more investment here, which is good news, tourism-related projects,” the governor said in an interview, adding that one of those includes a “sea walk” development.

Inos said this is “good news” for the CNMI, also noting that Baldyga is not here to compete with the CNMI but rather to work with it.

This comes days after the governor approved the Commonwealth Development Authority’s recommendation to grant Sea Touch a qualifying certificate, in connection with the company’s plan to invest $1.125 million in a business engaged in interactive marine activities and marine animal encounters.

Inos also confirmed that DFS Galleria is considering the development of a new hotel in its other property toward the beach “immediately north of Hafa Adai” [Hafadai Beach Hotel] in Garapan.

This was days after DFS officials met with Department of Public Lands Secretary Pete A. Tenorio. The governor said there’s public land adjacent to DFS’ property.

“So depending on the footprint of the proposed development, they might lease some public land to expand the project but they do have that property for quite some time now. It would be nice if they can…develop that area,” the governor said.

The CNMI has been running out of hotel rooms to accommodate a growing number of tourists, so it has urged investors to get their hotels back online or build new ones.

“I was pretty much asking them to please consider developing, building more hotel rooms,” he said.

The governor also said existing airlines such as Dynamic Airways can always increase the number of its flights to and from the CNMI, but he said the problem right now is the lack of hotel rooms.

Inos signed on March 21 a bill legalizing casino gaming on Saipan. The law, as amended, gives interested investors up to April 21 to submit an application accompanied by a nonrefundable $1 million application fee.

Hong Kong-based Honest Profit International Ltd. will also be leasing a piece of public land in San Antonio for its initial $120-million, 300-room hotel complex.

Tan Holdings, meanwhile, plans to lease almost 10 hectares of public lands in Marpi for its over $133-million, 455-room high-end hotel resort project.

Moreover, South Korean giant E Land will be renovating one of its properties on Saipan, the former The Palms Resort, and reopen it as early as next year under the international hotel brand Sheraton.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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