Multimillion Rota Hotel, Casino Project Moves Forward

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Mayor, developer sign agreement for first phase of project

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 7, 2014) – KSA Corp., doing business as IH Corp., has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rota mayor’s office to initiate the first phase of its $500 million project on Rota with the $58 million development plan for the Liyo area and Angyta Island.

According to KSA Corp. secretary Edward Hocog, KSA Corp. Chairman Il Hwan Kim and Rota Mayor Melchor A. Mendiola signed an MOU stating its intent to develop the Liyo beach area, including the island of Angyta, renovate the old Paupau Hotel and its facilities, and install a cable car from the Songsong Village Cross to the Liyo baseline.

Early this year, KSA Corp. announced plans for $500 million in multi-year investments to construct three five-star hotel-casinos on the island.

KSA Corp. partnered up with Rota Treasure Island Corp. — Rota’s casino license holder — to undertake these major developments on Rota.

Aside from KSA Corp. and Rota Treasure Island Corp., there will be investors from Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines and Egypt who will join in helping kick off Rota’s economic development.

Hocog told Variety yesterday that based on their MOU, KSA Corp. dba IH Corp. will identify the land necessary to accomplish the projects and present them to the Rota mayor’s office.

KSA Corp.’s Korean affiliate, Customer Impression Project — its marketing and promotions arm — as well as its engineering group visited Rota recently.

Hocog told Variety that KSA Corp. dba IH Corp. presented its plan to Rota Mayor Mendiola to revive the Paupau Hotel, and develop of Angyta Island for tourism and recreational activities to include the construction of a shopping center.

He said they hope to begin by Jan. 2015.

The A&E designs for the projects have been completed and IH Corp. is pleased to have found Rota as a viable location for their project.

For Rota Mayor Melchor Mendiola, the planned investments will be a big boost to the island economy.

"This will contribute to our revenue-generating efforts, not only on Rota but for the entire CNMI," said Mendiola.

He said he welcomes investment such as this that will foster the island’s economic development.

He was pleased that the investors chose Rota, and that their plans will bring tourists to the island.

For Mendiola, Rota is ripe for such infrastructure developments.

Variety earlier reported that the Korean-firm-led investments will be made in multiple phases beginning 2014 and continuing to 2018.

Cognizant of the transportation limitations on island, the investors are considering bringing in three passenger planes that can carry at a minimum 150 passengers.

It is also looking at bringing in three 10-seat seaplanes for free inter-island transportation.

IH Corp. is working closely with the Rota Mayor’s Office as it tries to comply with the mandates of the regulating agencies.

Meanwhile, asked if the investors are looking at applying for a qualifying certificate with the Commonwealth Development Authority, Hocog said that in as much as relief from taxes would help them, IH Corp. resolved to pursue the projects without the QC application so they can help the government in its revenue-generating efforts.

Rota casino reopening on March 13

With KSA Corp. dba IH Corp. and Rota Treasure Island Corp. signing an MOU back in December, the dormant casino operations on Rota will be revived by March.

As Rota Treasure Island Corp. is the casino license holder on Rota, it is teaming up with IH Corp. to reopen the casino by March 12.

Hocog said they are on schedule so far for the reopening of the Rota Treasure Island casino.

He told Variety that they scheduled a Texas Hold’em Poker tournament for March 13-14, the week of the San Isidro Fiesta on Rota.

Hocog said that pursuant to the Rota Casino Act of 2007, Rota Treasure Island Corp. — being the license owner — must contract with a casino managing team to operate the casino.

Rota Treasure Island Corp. cannot be the operator, he said.

He said they have begun training local staffers for the casino reopening.

Rota Treasure Island Corp. holds a valid casino license for up to 2015.

The Rota Treasure Island casino on Rota has a 1,600-square-foot casino floor.

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