Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings (IPI) continues to struggle with the construction of its US$7 billion integrated resort, and is likely to miss its August 31 deadline.
The Hong Kong-listed casino operator have asked the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) to extend the time frame for the completion of Imperial Pacific Resort until the end of December 2018, according to the Saipan Tribune report.
In a meeting with the CCC members on Thursday, IPI Vice President for Construction Eric Poon conceded that the casino operator may not be able to finish the construction of Imperial Palace by the end of August. Currently, the site is only 68 percent complete, according to the casino operator.
Failure of IPI to finish the construction on August 31 would mean another amendment of the casino operator’s license agreement. CCC chair Juan Sablan pointed out that it will be the sixth amendment to the license agreement if IPI misses the deadline.
“The development of the resort hotel experienced a big jump and we are trying to [do] everything and get ready for the inspection by the end of the year,” Poon said, according to the news outlet.
Poon said construction work is currently focused on the resort hotel, the hotel tower (including the building facade and roof), and the external works particularly in front of the hotel lobby. He added that they’re now working closely with the Development Planning Advisory Council to craft their extension package.
However, patience of CCC members is running thin due to the nitty-gritty paperwork that the amendment would entail as result of the construction delay. They pointed out that the IPI’s construction might see more delays since getting a government approval on casino operator’s extension request will take quite some time.
Sablan pointed out that IPI should have given a more realistic date on the integrated resort’s completion at the very start.
“Before it was manpower, then issue with the materials, but now you have materials here on Saipan… ask for a date that’s realistic…because if you pick a date that is unrealistic that would require another extension… violations in the agreement require sanctions,” Sablan said.
In February 2017, IPI asked for a construction extension citing delays caused by 2015’s Typhoon Soudelor and a shortage of trained workers.
Two months later, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Lottery Commission granted IPI extension request for completing the casino portion of its in-development Imperial Pacific Resort in Saipan’s Garapan region.