Low-cost housing project breaks ground

Gov. Ralph Torres, center, leads the groundbreaking ceremony of Isa Villas Partners LCC and Pacific Rim Land Development LLC affordable housing project held last Friday on Capital Hill (Bea Cabrera)

Isa Villas Partners LCC and Pacific Rim Land Development LLC launched their first affordable housing project in the CNMI in a groundbreaking ceremony on Capital Hill last Friday.

The project is called Isa Villas and will be the first affordable housing project along Guguan and Anatahan Drive on Capitol Hill. It will consist of 27 units: 15 three-bedroom units and 12 four-bedroom units.

According to Joshua Sasamoto, the partner in Isa Villas Partners LLC and president of the Marianas Non-Profit Homes, the project will be built through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which is overseen by the Northern Marianas Housing Corp.

“As someone who was born and raised here, I know the need for low-cost housing. This is near and dear to my heart as the need for housing grows, particularly the need for affordable housing,” he said.

“We have already seen residents being priced out in the market and we are happy to increase the housing stock on island. In addition to that, you really cannot downplay the economic and community development aspect and being a local guy, I am really proud of that,” he added.

Sasamoto said the CW situation on island was a challenge, but reiterated that Pacific Rim is an established company with a lot of resources.

“Together, we have been able to get what we need. It wasn’t the easiest and cheapest way but we are here. …We are really excited to start this and look forward to similar projects in the future,” he added.

Keith Stewart, president of Pacific Rim Land Development, is the general contractor for the project.

“We didn’t want future residents to go out of their doors and see asphalt and concrete and this area on Capitol Hill has given us a unique property. It is the perfect environment for families as you see the ocean on one side and lots of greens on the other side,” he said.

“What we are doing is, aside from the drive access in the buildings, we do have a community center with open areas between. There’s a kitchen on one side of the villa for events,” he added

Stewart said that Isa Villas will have programs with non-profit groups for the benefit of residents.

“We are working with non-profit organizations on island to provide support and training with the residents here. Being that it’s an affordable housing complex, we want to be able to utilize the facility to help develop families,” he said

“The vision is, hopefully, when they live here, they are in a much better position in their lives. So this is not just a housing project, we intend to put programs as well to promote livelihood,” he added.

Gov. Ralph Torres graced the occasion and said that affordable housing is what the community needs and looks forward to more projects that will be built in coming months.

“This is just the first phase—27 units will be built and eventually up to 84 units in the next year on a nice, beautiful location. We have a shortage of house and homes and having this gives those people who are in need an opportunity to have better and secure homes,” he said.

“This development is another indication of our need for additional workers. …Our economy continues to grow or at least stabilize. I’m glad that Pacific Rim was able to continue the project and hope that other projects continue to move forward,” he added

The construction of the Isa Villas is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Bea Cabrera 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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