Hong Kong-based Honest Profit International Ltd. held a groundbreaking for its $130-million, 300-room hotel in San Antonio on Saturday, marking the start of the first major hotel construction this decade in the CNMI.
Sam Chan, owner and chief executive officer of Honest Profit, said the “5-star” hotel’s groundbreaking marks “a new era of investment activity” on the island,” which is now lacking hotel rooms to accommodate a growing number of tourists.
Renold Tang, the London-based vice president of Honest Profit, said while they have retained the name “Saipan Resort Hotel” for the project, they are keeping their “options open” because international global brands have approached them.
While Honest Profit hopes to finish the hotel in 18 to 26 months, Chan said there could be factors beyond their control that will push back the completion date to up to 30 months.
Gov. Eloy S. Inos said a 300-room hotel can “mean a lot” to the CNMI’s tourism industry and the economy, along with new job opportunities.
“This is a very welcome development,” Inos said at the ceremony that was also attended by Cabinet members, lawmakers, and other government officials, along with members of the CNMI business community.
Besides Honest Profit’s Chan and Tang, also present were Dominic Lau of Macau and consultant Eric Li of Hong Kong, among other investor partners at the ceremony.
Department of Public Lands Secretary Pete A. Tenorio said the hotel will be built on 40,087 square meters of public lands that Honest Profit leased. The DPL secretary hopes to see the hotel’s opening in 18 to 26 months.
The new hotel is located immediately north of Pacific Islands Club Saipan in San Antonio. The lease is for 25 years, with an option to extend by 15 years or a total of 40 years.
The groundbreaking comes two months after Honest Profit paid a $100,000 security deposit, a new requirement that DPL imposes among investors eyeing major developments such as hotels and golf courses.
Moreover, the 300-room hotel that Honest Profit will be building goes beyond the minimum 200-room requirement of DPL’s request for proposal for the San Antonio property.
Chan, in an interview after the ceremony, said tapping the right workers for the hotel construction will be quite a challenge but he hopes through collaboration with the CNMI government and the private sector, they will be able to meet the need for workers.