After several months without a main contractor to continue building its casino resort in Garapan, Imperial Pacific International, LLC confirmed with the Commonwealth Casino Commission yesterday that they are in talks with a Guam-based construction firm with access to U.S. eligible workers.
According to Eric Poon of IPI, discussions between Pacific Rim Constructors from Guam and IPI have been ongoing since December 2017. He confirmed with the commission that they have signed phase one of the contract, which involves Pacific Rim studying the site and setting up pre-construction necessities.
IPI’s former main contractor, MCC International, has left the CNMI after being caught harboring a large number of illegal aliens and allowing them to work on the construction of the casino resort. Since then, IPI has cut ties with them, forcing the casino resort’s construction to remain stagnant for several months.
Meanwhile, a highly placed source in the casino commission confirmed with Saipan Tribune that as of 7pm yesterday, IPI is finalizing the details of Phase 2 of the contract, which pertains to the mobilization of workers.
“IPI construction management and Pacific Rim construction management are trying to work together to figure out our plan to finish construction,” Poon reported to the commission.
Despite this, commission vice chair Joseph Reyes remains skeptical of IPI’s ability to complete the casino resort by its deadline of August 2018.
“We just want to see this thing move forward,” said Reyes, as he questioned Poon on the staffing and costs of the project. “I’ve seen some of these areas. You are still on the second floor.”
“I want you guys to be transparent,” added Reyes, as he challenged the reported 64-percent completion rate of the casino resort as stated in the handouts to the commission.
Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said that IPI has paid Pacific Rim “a certain amount” to conduct preliminary reviews; to asses the condition of the building; and to calculate how much more it would take to finish it.
“That has been paid for and we wait for the final results of the report,” said Deleon Guerrero.
Poon responded: “I hear loud and clear the frustrations of everybody—from the public; from the CCC; from my own company. Nobody wants to see the building like that. It’s an eyesore.”
Poon added that while IPI is working “110 percent to get it done,” what IPI really needs is time.
“We need time and we need to execute our contract so we can move on,” he said.
Going back to his report, Poon said that while January 2018 did not yield much movement on the construction of the casino resort, the focus was on the main landscape on the northern side. He said the target date for its completion is before the Chinese New Year, which is on Feb. 16, 2018.
When asked on how much manpower Pacific Rim was committed to providing, Poon said there was nothing specific.
When asked if he remains confident that the casino resort would be built by August 2018, Poon replied yes but they would only get to complete the 250-room requirement.