IPI takes over Mariana Resort

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Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LCC CEO and president Mark Brown talks about plans and the current progress of the Imperial Palace Saipan construction.
(BEA CABRERA)

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LCC has already received a notice from the Department of Public Lands that allows the casino operator to manage and operate the entire Mariana Resort & Spa starting mid-May.

IPI president and CEO Mark Brown disclosed this yesterday during a Commonwealth Casino Commission board meeting at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library’s Technology Room in Susupe.

“…We are stepping in and we are going to manage the property. We will take care of the Mariana Resort, the golf course, go-kart area, pool area, and the entire site. …We received a letter that we were selected and that’s Step 1. Step 2 is sitting down with DPL and trying to figure out what is expected of us,” Brown said.

He clarified, though, that IPI is not leasing the Mariana Resort lot.

“It is not a lease agreement as we are just renting the land and managing it for DPL and for the island. Our plan is to lease in the future but, for now, we feel we are helping the island as we maintain this land for DPL as DPL doesn’t have the money to take care of the golf course, so IPI is jumping in,” Brown added.

IPI is the exclusive casino license holder on Saipan and part of its casino license agreement is the development of the Marpi area, referred to as Phase II of their plan. “This is what has been holding us back. …Not having that land for the last two years has affected how we operate. We finally got to a point of saying, ‘What’s available now?’ and it was made public as to who would like to manage this property and here we are and we are doing it as a company,” Brown said.

“The Marpi land is the biggest piece…and our goal was not only to come here with the casino in the middle of Garapan but also the Marpi land. …When we are granted the entire site, then we can move on with our partners and go into our phases, as this was our plan years ago and is still is,” Brown added.

Brown said that the duration of the management agreement is just one year. “It is going to cost us a couple of hundred thousand a month to maintain this property and we will do that. Hopefully, on the day that we get the land, we can move on with our phases and plans for our company,” he said.

As for manpower, Brown said the goal is to hire the people who have worked at the Mariana Resort property for many years “because they know the property and we are trying to get back as many as we can. Like any business on island, we have to cut back and streamline so we pick up this facility thinking that the people who [used to] work there will help us, get the[m] back…because we also need them to run the facility,” he added.

VIP villas to partially open by end of September

According to Brown, IPI plans to partially open what it will call the Beach Villa Resort, a seafront development beside the casino complex that IPI is finishing to complete. Both are part of the recently renamed Imperial Palace Saipan.

Brown expects a thousand workers to arrive and work on the Beach Villa Resort. “So, with the thousand workers here, roughly, we will partially open rooms…just to get the rooms going by the end of September of this year,” he said.

“Once we have the rooms, our guests can come down in the middle of the night and go to the casino because, right now we have people staying…[at the] Hyatt [Regency Saipan] and Fiesta [Resort & Spa Saipan]. Like what I said in previous meetings, our goal is to finish that first and go to the tower,” he added.

IPI vice president for construction Eric Poon said that IPI has hired more than 100 Taiwanese and Thai H-2B workers who are expected to report for duty by the end of this month and beginning of May.

“Our focus is Taiwan and Thailand for workers now… we hired a management staff currently stationed in Thailand conducting interviews and getting on board. …As soon as everything is ready, they will come and meet with us,” he said.

“We are getting 100 construction workers per month until we reach the quota of 1,500 and we are ready for them—the job site, transportation, and dormitory are ready,” he added.
Aside from the rooms, Poon projects that by the end of September, the main lobby of the resort hotel, reception desk, and deluxe villas will be complete and ready.

MD: Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LCC has been allowed to manage and operate the entire facility of Marianas Resort starting mid-May.

KW: IPI, casino, Mark Brown, Eric Poon.

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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