Gambling expansion in the paradisaical Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands continues with several projects in the works. Macau-based Alter City Group met with Tinian Governor Eloy S. Inos on Friday and presented a ceremonial check of $1.2 million as partial payment on their siting permit for their newly expanded Plumeria Golf and Casino Resort plan slated for the Island nation.
Last year the group secured a lease from the government for 152-hectares (375 acre) of Tinian land on which to build their $360-million casino resort. Friday it was revealed that the previous plan had been expanded, “From roughly 2,500 rooms, we are now planning for 6,000 rooms. We are also talking with airlines,” according to Alter City managing director Ken Lin.
The project will be developed in three phases and in addition to the casino facilities and hotel rooms will include an 18 hole golf course, water parks, villas, and other tourist related amenities.
The resort is planned for Nasarino, more commonly known off-island as Puntan Diablo. The public land lease was approved unanimously by a joint session of the Senate and House in November.
Alter City is not the first to try to build a mega-resort on Tinian. The same plot was leased previously by Marianas Resort Development Corp, who planned to build the Matua Bay Casino Resort, but subsequently abandoned the project.
One reason for the 12 year time frame to completion of the resort is the existing use of the land. Alter City has said they won’t move forward with the project until Tinian’s leadership decides how and where to relocate a dump on the site. Alter City has said they would provide funding for the reclamation and discussions are underway with the U.S. military. The group is also concerned with “live-fire” operations that could effect tourism.
Reports indicate a potential site. According to Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas, “The property where the dump sits has been leased to Alter City Group so the leadership is working very hard to relocate the dump and we’ve thought that the appropriate site should be at Pina.”
Of the Northern Mariana Islands, only Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, are inhabited. Imperial Pacific (Best Sunshine) is moving forward with plans for a $7 billion development in Saipan. Japanese junket operator, Watanabe Masahiro has expressed interest in reopening his Treasure Island Casino and Hotel on Rota. The casino was only open for a few months when it closed in March 2011.
Tinian seems to be attracting the most attention from developers with a proposal coming out in February for the Tinian Ocean View Casino Resort; a Titanic-themed casino, the Alter City project, and the existing Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino at San Jose.