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Willing to pay $10 million up front

By Emmanuel T. Erediano SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Aug. 2, 2011) - Now that both houses of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Legislature are inclined to extend the government’s lease agreement with Coral Ocean Point (COP) Golf Resort, a China-based investor has expressed interest in the hotel.

The president of Pacific Investment and Development Corp. wrote Department of Public Land (DPL) Secretary Oscar M. Babauta earlier this month, offering to pay the government US$10 million upfront for COP.

The company also promised to invest US$6 million for 100 additional hotel rooms, US$300,000 for other amenities and employ 200 local residents.

Yesterday, the company sent a "special notice" informing the CNMI government that the Port Authority Office of the Hunan Provincial People’s Government in China has approved a direct charter flight from Changsha, China to Saipan.

In his letter to Babauta, Pacific Investment and Development Corp. president Cheong Pui Ng said they have the resources, ability, expertise and the funding to take over COP.

"We will immediately invest $10 million if you accept and award us the takeover," Ng told Babauta.

The investor promised to renovate, repair, refurbish and repaint all existing buildings of COP, upgrade its golf course, replace all furniture, carpets, drapes with brand new ones; replace all golf carts with new ones, upgrade the entire landscape of the resort and clean the nearby beach.

"Our investment partners from Hunan Province…are all excited and upbeat on this project. Our partners are engaged in various big business ventures such as banking, investments, construction, agriculture, export-import, airlines, and tourism business. Our main and primary customers will come from Hunan Province a center (for) trade and manufacturing with a population of 67 million," Ng said.

He said Changsha Airlines and Xiamen Airlines will provide two chartered flights twice a week to bring in guests for COP.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are holding a joint session this Friday to discuss the 15-year lease extension application of Suwaso Corp., which currently owns COP.

Suwaso’s lease agreement expired last February but it was given a six-month grace period.

Last year, DPL and the Legislature expressed reluctance to extend Suwaso’s lease deal due to its failure to pay the government US$4 million and improve its golf resort.

But last week, the Senate adopted Senate Resolution 17-60 urging DPL "to work with COP on a reasonable public land lease extension."

In an interview yesterday, Speaker Eli D. Cabrera, R-Saipan, expressed hope that DPL will provide them all the needed document so they can act on Suwaso’s land lease extension favorably.

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