Imperial Pacific International says it expects to complete its minimum requirement of 250 hotel rooms at Imperial Pacific Resort in Saipan by August after signing an agreement with a new construction company.
Pacific Rim, a US-based company with access to US-eligible workers, has begun studying the site of the project’s US$600 million first phase following the departure of former contractor MCC International last year.
Work on Imperial Pacific Resort has ground to a halt in recent months after MCC was found to have utilized more than 100 illegal Chinese workers on site.
“IPI construction management and Pacific Rim construction management are trying to work together to figure out our plan to finish construction,” said IPI’s Alex Poon.
According to a report by The Saipan Tribune, Poon told the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) that completion of the resort by August was now impossible but that IPI was targeting completion of its minimum 250 hotel room requirement. The company has paid Pacific Rim an unspecified sum to conduct preliminary reviews of the site, asses the condition of the building and calculate what is required to complete construction.
“We just want to see this thing move forward,” CCC Chairman Joseph Reyes told Poon at a Commission hearing on Tuesday. “I’ve seen some of these areas. You are still on the second floor. I want you guys to be transparent.”
Poon is reported to have replied, “I hear loud and clear the frustrations of everybody, from the public, from the CCC, from my own company. Nobody wants to see the building like that. It’s an eyesore.
“We need time and we need to execute our contract so we can move on.”
The Saipan Tribune reported that IPI and Pacific Rim are now finalizing details for the mobilization of legal workers.
New Chairman, CEO for IPI
News of the impending resumption of construction in Saipan comes as IPI announced a new Chairman and CEO following the sudden departure of Mark Brown in December.
Marco Teng, who previously held senior human resources roles at Sands Macao, the Venetian and most recently with Galaxy Entertainment Group, has been named IPI Chairman and will be tasked with overseeing the company’s Saipan operations.
Henry Cheang is IPI’s new CEO and also comes via Macau where he was part of the opening teams at Galaxy Macau, Altira and MGM Macau.
Cheang succeeds Kwong Yiu Ling at IPI.
Brown stepped down as Chairman in December to spend more time with family, although he told Inside Asian Gaming at the time that he would look to new opportunities in the near future.