The Mariana Resort and Spa in Saipan is looking for a new operator. Kan Pacific, who has managed the property for over 40 years, announced a few months ago that it was giving up on the property as of September 30 of this year and Imperial Pacific International (IPI) decided it was as good a candidate as any. However, it now looks as though it will have to remain focused on completing the long overdue Imperial Palace integrated resort (IR).
IPI would have had to receive special permission from the Mariana Islands’ Lottery Commission in order to receive a license for the casino. In accordance with the company’s Casino License Agreement, it can only run five-star hotels; since Mariana Resort is only a three-star resort, IPI’s license wasn’t valid.
The permission was granted with the proviso that IPI would not seek to manage any other properties that were less than five stars. However, the whole process was for naught, as no agreement could be reached after the Department of Public Lands (DPL) issued a request for proposal (RFP).
Moving forward, the DPL has divided the property into three parts, each with its own RFP. One part is the golf course, the second is the racetrack and the third is the hotel.
Since making the division, IPI has once again sought to get involved. It has issued two responses to the DPL – one for the hotel and the other for the racetrack – and Kan Pacific has submitted a separate response for the golf course. The responses are all expected to be considered by the DPL, but the department has acknowledged that it has temporarily put the hotel operations on stand-by since the accommodations are currently being used for emergency personnel responding to Typhoon Yutu, which hit the area last month.
That typhoon also forced IPI to shut down Imperial Pacific’s hotel temporarily. The Saipan International Airport suffered damage that caused all air traffic, expect humanitarian flights, to be suspended. Whether or not the temporary closure will be used as an excuse for the company to file for bankruptcy in the wake of the extended inability to pay its staff and complete construction is possible, although IPI officials refute any such action is forthcoming.