PNG HOTEL DEVELOPER EYES $52 MILLION SAMOA RESORT

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Lamana Group’s Constantinou targets Taumeasina Island

By Tupuola Terry Tavita APIA, Samoa (Savali, Aug. 25, 2011) –The Lamana Group of Papua New Guinea has expressed strong intent to build a 120 million tala [US$51.8 million] four-to-five-star resort at vacant Taumeasina Island.

Group owner Kostas Constantinou visited Samoa several times this year and has met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and tourism and investment officials.

[PIR editor’s note: The Lamana Group, currently a component of a project funded by the Fiji and Papua New Guinea retirement funds to redevelop the historic Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, has been criticized for alleged conflicts of interest in PNG development projects, particularly hotel and commercial development projects. The focus of these allegations is Group director Kostas Constantinou, who holds numerous high-level public and private sector positions, including Chairman of the Port Moresby Planning Board. ]

Responding to questions sent via email, the Group said the proposed project encompasses an over 100-room complex in addition over 100 more luxury bedroom villa suites and standard luxury hotel rooms, water sport and activities areas, conference and entertainment facilities as well as restaurants and cafes.

The AU$60 million (120 million-tala) price, the Group said, is based "purely on conceptual drawings" however, "investment amount will be further verified once we are able to assess the civil and construction component of the island. This will commence once we are able to secure a lease title."

The proposal for a lease title is yet to be tabled in Cabinet as Taumeasina Island is owned by government.

[PIR editor’s note: Taumeasina Island is a small island off the northern coast of Samoa’s Upolu Island, near Apia.]

The Group added that the hotel-resort will have a "family friendly ambience" complimenting "Samoa’s natural beauty".

"Our target market will be returning Samoans and tourists," however, the Group said, business and commercial activity the project will generate will benefit all hotels in the country.

The Lamana Group, it continued, will be working closely with government, hotel operators, airlines and other industry stakeholders "to ensure strong and steady growth in the country."

Based in Papua New Guinea, the Lemana Group has had over 50 years of experience in the Western Pacific. It describes itself as a diversified company involved in property development, civil construction and hotel management.

"We have project-managed, developed and designed some of Papua New Guinea’s most prestigious properties with particular focus on the development of luxury apartment units, commercial office buildings, industrial suites and high-quality hotels."

Lamana Development Ltd – a subsidiary of the Lamana Group, established in 1994 – is a growing privately-owned property developer with a proven track record in developing high level business hotels in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

"Our delivery of projects is based on our strong construction experience in the Pacific (especially in developing economies) as well as having the financial capability to ensure project completion. We work closely with Landowners Trust Groups and Superannuation Funds from Papua New Guinea which have over 1 billion kina in net assets each.

"This ensures financial stability of the project and that we meet the many objectives of tangible projects in Pacific Island nations."

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