Officials cut ribbon for Ironwood Saipan as housing complex opens


Northern Marianas Housing Corp. director Jesse Palacios celebrates the opening of Ironwood during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. (Daisy Demapan)

Government officials and other agencies celebrated the opening of Ironwood Saipan during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the islands’ newest housing complex on Thursday.

The complex was made possible through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program that gives incentives for the use of private equity in the development of low-income housing. The program is implemented in the CNMI by the Northern Marianas Corp.

NMHC director Jesse Palacios stated that one of the most fundamental building blocks of a stable life is a place to live.

“NMHC is mandated to provide the community with safe, decent and sanitary places to live. Through the housing tax credit program and thanks to Ironwood Saipan, we are meeting that mandate,” he said.

Noting the housing difficulties many residents faced after Typhoon Soudelor hit in August, Palacios said the complex passed the ultimate safety test by withstanding the wind forces of the typhoon and storms that have come through the island.

“This new housing community will greatly enhance Saipan’s aging housing stock and curb appeal, similar to what Sandy Beach Homes has accomplished. We are proud to say that this is what a housing tax credit project looks like and this is what the community should expect from future developers of affordable housing,” he said.

Palacios said the tax program produces high quality housing with affordable rent and encourages private investment in rental housing in locations where investment would normally not take place.

Palacios gave credit to Rick Inman, John Hand, Carlos Camacho and other Ironwood associates for playing a pivotal role in introducing the tax credit program to the CNMI.

“They, along with our sister agency, Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, assisted NMHC in putting together our policies and procedures and in connecting us with [IRS and key federal officials] so that we could administer the program here,” he said.

Palacios shared that Ironwood was instrumental in the Sandy Beach Homes development but now has become the CNMI’s first housing tax credit project.

In attendance to celebrate Thursday’s occasion was acting governor Ralph Torres, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Rep. Felicidad Ogumoro, Rep. BJ Attao, Rep. Ralph Yumul, and other dignitaries.

Ironwood Saipan, located in Gualo Rai on Middle Road, offers two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments featuring typhoon shutters, full appliances, solid surface countertops and porcelain tile floors, washer and dryer connections, and reverse osmosis filtered water, a basketball court and playground with areas for tenant gatherings, built-in grills, and a community center.

Daisy Demapan | Reporter

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