Imperial Pacific International (IPI) is trying desperately to finish its Imperial Pacific Resort (IPR) in Saipan as fast as it can. However, company officials admitted to the Commonwealth Casino Commission last week that it doesn’t believe it can finish construction by its August deadline, and has asked for an extension until December. Even with that extension, IPI has acknowledged that it might be necessary to employ a second shift of construction workers, who would have to work at night, to complete the casino by December.
VP of construction, Erik Poon, is currently discussing the possibility with the casino’s contractor, Pacific Rim Contractors. The executive was quoted by the Saipan Tribune saying, “Pacific Rim and IPI have been talking about second (work) shift which will start after 7 pm until midnight. Right now, we already notified the people concerned about the possibility of night shift work.”
According to Poon, “The exact date we still have to iron out with Pacific Rim because right now, we have to put the safety features needed especially at night before we put a date for the second (work) shift.”
A lack of manpower has been the primary reason for delays of construction, according to Poon. IPI has increased the amount of construction workers considerably over the course of the past several months, but it may have been too little, too late for IPI to meet the schedule.
“For the past few months, IPI has significantly increased manpower, especially from IPI’s side as we have H2-B workers. It helped us a lot to put our schedule even further… Moving along I can say we are back to normal like the way we want it,” Poon said, according to the news outlet. “Currently, we have 68 management staff and 1,402 workers in construction—44 from Sinopan, 677 from Pacific Rim, and 700 IPI H2-B workers… we are still hiring… our requirement is 1,500 workers and right now we have 700 so we still have room to grow for sure.”
The IPR has been plagued with issues and delays almost since construction began. There have been accusations of financial improprieties, lack of adherence to contractual agreements and violations of employment agreements. In March, four Chinese companies involved with the resort’s construction were ordered to pay $14 million in compensation to more than 2,400 workers stemming from unpaid wages and subsequent damages.
When it is complete, the IPR will be a luxury integrated resort on the US territory with more than 200 gaming tables, 350 slot machines and a 14-story hotel. There are also plans for beach and night clubs to be added to the resort.