IPI seeks to draw brand-name hotels

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Posted on May 17 2019

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Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC believes that bringing in brand-name hotels into its planned integrated resort would benefit the islands as it would attract high-end tourists and other travelers.

IPI chief executive officer Mark Brown said these brand-name hotels would form part of its planned resort in Marpi, on the site that was the former Mariana Resort & Spa.

This comes soon after the CNMI Lottery Commission, in a meeting last Tuesday, granted IPI’s request to amend the casino license agreement and allow third-party investors and partners to provide high-end amenities at IPI’s planned integrated resort.

Brown said their request is predicated on one thing only, and that is to sustain their investment in the CNMI, “obviously to grow our company. Because if our company grows, everyone else benefits in the CNMI. Our first request is growing the company by adding partners.

“We plan to have 2,000 rooms and we’re looking to have different partners for this,” he added. “We need other partners for this and we’re looking for more.”

He said this is how Singapore’s Sentosa operates and other companies in the United States like the Caesars Palace that have other brand-name hotels and other establishments, similar to his experience in Macau when the Sands opened in 2004, and the Venetian Macau in 2007.

Brown said Four Seasons, St. Regis, The Conrad, The Holiday Inn, and Sheraton followed suit in Macau in the following years due to the trust the place has built in the tourism industry.

“Like the Sheraton and Four Seasons, that’s what we want to also do here. All of these deals would be different. Our goal is to bring these partners with name brands that people outside of the CNMI know,” said Brown.

Viola Alepuyo, IPI’s Special Projects senior vice president, added that it would be their responsibility as the sole casino licensee on Saipan to comply with the 2,000-guest room requirement that is stated in the CLA.

Also included in the CLA are 17,000 square meters of gaming area, at least 23 food and beverage outlets, a 600-seat theater, and a wedding chapel.

“The integrated resort can be in one or more than one development site. What IPI wants to do is to build an inte-grated resort, much like the one in Singapore where they have the Sentosa that we could use a reference. They have actually a number of different hotels, managed by different companies,” said Alepuyo.

“In addition, they have retail space…depending on which hotel you are staying. One of the attractions is a theme-park entertainment facility run by Universal Studios.

“What IPI is trying to do is bring in other partners that could build brand-new hotels, so that Hyatt is not only the brand-name hotel here.”

IPI general counsel Philip Tydingco, Human Resources vice presidents Bertha Leon Guerrero and Magdalena Attao, vice president for Construction Eric Poon, IPI consultant Alfred Yu, and IPI Holdings Ltd.—IPI’s parent company—senior general counsel Allan Chan joined Brown and Alepuyo at the meeting.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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