Department of Public Lands Secretary Pete A. Tenorio finally broke his silence on Best Sunshine Inc. allegedly eyeing the public land currently being leased by Marianas Resort & Spa Saipan in Marpi.
In an interview following the Senate and House of Representatives’ approval of Alter City and Public Lands’ land lease deal Friday at the House Chamber, Tenorio said his agency is not offering Kan Pacific Saipan Ltd.’s expiring land lease to the Hong Kong-based investor of the $7.1-billion integrated casino investment.
“It’s not the Kan Pacific lease that’s being made available,” emphasized Tenorio. “Other people are kind of juggling around information which is not accurate and I want to be absolutely clear that it’s not the existing Kan Pacific lease that is being looked at for purposes of providing [Best Sunshine] a lease for their immediate project.”
He said the public land being offered to Best Sunshine are other portions of Marpi, including the public land that was previously assigned to Sunshine 100 and later to E Land. “It’s a combination of 20 hectares or so altogether and that could get them started.”
Because of the size of Best Sunshine’s investment, Tenorio said that DPL and Best Sunshine are looking at a myriad of areas where public land is available on Saipan.
“We’ve been conducting an ongoing discussion on a number of issues involving public land lease. We’re looking at the Garapan area, for example, like the one right by DFS [T Galleria]. That would be an easy one to handle because that doesn’t have to be referred for legislative approval anymore because it’s less than 4 hectares. I’m not saying we don’t have to share our concerns with the Legislature, but nevertheless the land is so small that once we execute the lease they can go forth with the project,” he said.
When asked about the status of negotiations between Kan Pacific and Public Lands with regards to the extension of the former’s land lease, the Public Lands secretary remained noncommittal on the issue.
“It’s separate issue that’s three years from now. Something’s coming up and I’m not prepared to address that,” he said.
Mariana Resort is pursuing at least a $30-million added investment for a 25-year renewal of its public land lease that’s expiring in April 2018. Part of that additional investment is the addition of 100 executive rooms. Currently, Mariana Resort has 74 hotel rooms and 50 individual cottages.