A report in the Saipan Tribune confirms a note from Bridge Investment Group CEO, Phillip Mendiola-Long that although the U.S. Department of the Navy maintains the right to use the Port of Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands for military purposes, there is no current conflict in leases the Commonwealth Ports Authority (CPA) has recently granted to private enterprises, such as Bridge Investment Group’s $120-million Tinian Ocean View Casino Resort under development on the island.
Joint Region Marianas (JRM) public affairs officer Tim Gorman reportedly told the news outlet that the Navy wants their interests to be part of existing and future lease planning at the port, but that there is no current conflict. The issue arose when local media reported in January on a ‘letter of concern’ that CPA lawyer Robert Torres received from Department of the Navy lawyer John Aguon, among other things stating that, “We are concerned that these developments may compromise DoD’s various rights,” he said. “We would like to work with CPA to identify existing conflicts, if any, between the lease to Bridge or other entities and the agreements with United States and how to resolve them.”
Gorman’s statements seem to resolve the issue, noting that although the JRM is aware that the port authority has leased property at the port, he doesn’t see any current conflict with the lease, and that the previous letter simply communicated the Navy’s desire to work collaboratively.
Tinian Ocean View Casino Resort is being designed by leisure powerhouse, YWS Design. The owner of YWS Design was lead architect on such projects as Bellagio Las Vegas and other themed resorts worldwide. At full build-out the facility will feature a 1:1 replica of the Titanic ocean liner, housing a casino, amenities, and suites. Resort development will first occur on land with a hotel and casino. Construction could begin in earnest by December 2016 with completion of the 6-star resort to be done in December 2018. The project is being financed in part by the US EB-5 visa program and 90% of its employees will be U.S. citizens.
This article has been updated to correct an assertion that the YWS Design company ‘created’ Bellagio Las Vegas.