Report: IPI to partially open in September

Posted on Apr 25 2019

File photo shows the façade of Imperial Palace Saipan in Garapan. Although its casino and a restaurant inside are already operational, construction remains ongoing at the site. Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is trying to speed things up in order to meet the February 2021 deadline. (Jon Perez)

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is set to open a portion of its multi-million-dollar casino-hotel investment—Imperial Palace Saipan—in the third quarter of the current calendar year, according to various online reports.

Gaming news websites AGB Nippon, Calvin Ayre, GGR Asia, Inside Asian Gaming, and Radio New Zealand Pacific posted separate reports that IPI made an announcement in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that they would have a partial opening of Imperial Palace Saipan either on or before Sept. 30.

No further details were mentioned in the HKSE announcement.

IPI already operates the casino, as well as a bar and a restaurant, inside the initial gaming facility in Garapan.

The HKSE announcement, according to GGR Asia, did not mention if a portion of the hotel would also partially begin operations. IPI is trying to open the 15 deluxe villas of its casino-resort investment and there are reports that it would begin operations later this year.

Saipan Tribune tried to confirm the news with IPI officials on Saipan but they have yet to respond as of press time. The Commonwealth Casino Commission, which has oversight over IPI, is scheduled to meet today, where the IPI announcement is expected to be further discussed. More details will be available then.

Imperial Palace Saipan already has had several name changes. It was formerly known as Grand Mariana, then it became the Imperial Pacific Resort.

IPI’s project was supposed to open a year ago but various factors—from workforce and other labor issues to a couple of powerful storms (Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 and Super Typhoon Yutu last year)—slowed things down. IPI then had several extensions on the deadlines required in the casino license agreement.

Amendment 6 in August last year pushed the deadline to February 2021. CLC, however, added fines and other sanctions if IPI still fails to meet the extension’s deadline.

Imperial Palace Saipan, IPI’s first phase of development and investment on the island, will have a total area of 140,000 square meters once completed. It would boast of five-star luxury accommodations and amenities that includes dining and other entertainment facilities.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.
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