IPI won’t complete IPR by Feb. 28 deadline

CCC alarmed by changes in Imperial Pacific Resort completion dates

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has a Feb. 28, 2021, deadline to finish building the Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan but, as that date draws closer, it is now clear that IPI won’t be able to meet that deadline—a situation that Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Andrew Yeom finds “alarming.”

After listening to IPI chief engineer Eric Poon’s presentation about the IPR’s construction progress report during the CCC board meeting last Wednesday, Yeom said it’s “quite alarming and very concerning” that the “construction milestones schedule” to complete the construction of the Imperial Pacific Resort has been changed.

IPI, through Poon, came up with the revised construction timeline and Yeom acknowledged that Poon is obviously just trying to be realistic but he pointed out that the casino license agreement sets the timelines for IPI to finish the project. Yeom said this is going to be a very serious breach of contract.

“You only have about a month to go. So please do something about it,” Yeom told Poon.

The executive director said that IPI has only until Feb. 28, 2021, to finish building IPR but now the new target completion dates are beyond what is allowed in the casino license agreement.

“If there are no amendments [to the CLA], that is obviously going to be a serious breach of contract,” said Yeom. He advised Poon or any other IPI official to talk to the necessary body about this matter at this point—not with the Commonwealth Lottery Commission, unless Gov. Ralph DLG Torres decides to appoint a Lottery commissioner to talk about this matter.

Yeom said this is something Poon or IPI need to talk and resolve, unless the casino license agreement is amended once more.

Poon said IPI is aware of that.

CCC board chair Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said at the same meeting Wednesday that if IPI is thinking of appointing a new chief executive officer, this completion schedule is very much a high priority.

Deleon Guerrero said he believes that Poon has already indicated that they could not be able to finish by next month.

He said there must be a formal request by IPI to the Office of the Governor for the deadline extension, and let the CCC know that they are requesting for an extension.

Deleon Guerrero said IPI must support the detailed plan for the December 2022 final completion target with a financial ability to carry out that plan.

“If you don’t do that at the end of February, CCC will again will be forced to file an enforcement action for failure to comply with the license agreement,” he said.

The chairman said this is an adequate advance notice, which IPI should have known anyway that they don’t need a reminder.

“So make sure that somebody in IPI with sufficient authority look at this and take some actions,” Deleon Guerrero told Poon.

So far, Poon said, only the Phase 1—construction of resort hotel—is completed.

Poon said construction of Phase 2—tower hotel levels 3 to 13—is still in progress and that the target completion is Dec. 31, 2021.

Poon said Phase 3—Level 2 VIP Gaming and Level 14 Sky Level—is in progress and that the targeted completion date is April 30, 2022.

He said Phase 4—Beach Club, the target start of construction is Feb. 1, 2022, with Dec. 31, 2022 is the target completion date.

Poon said the target completion dates also depend on the manpower condition, since the forecasted schedule requires an estimated 2,000 workers.

Last June, Poon said the forecast to complete Phase 2 (tower hotel) was June 30, 2020; Phase 3 (Level VIP Gaming and Level 14 Sky Level) was September 2020; and for Phase 4 (Beach Club) was December 2020.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Poon said as of Jan. 19, 2021, on the construction side, there are 14 management staff and a total of 186 workers, including 15 from local manpower AM Group.

He said there are 171 H2B foreign workers: 34 Taiwanese, three Thais, 106 Mongolians, and 28 Turkish.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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