A new multimillion-dollar hotel will soon begin construction in the island’s main tourist district, providing another 340 luxury rooms on about 96,000 square meters of prime real estate overlooking Tumon Bay.
A groundbreaking ceremony yesterday was the first step in a big jump to the next phase of expansion, said Tomoyuki Haneda, P.H.R. Ken Micronesia director of planning and development. Haneda yesterday joined Shigero Sato, president of Ken Corp. Ltd, parent company of P.H.R. Ken Micronesia and P.H.R. Ken Micronesia’s President Tetsuro Imamura, Managing Director Milton Morinaga and other local and Japanese stakeholders to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Tsubaki Tower.
Haneda estimated a cost of $150 million for the construction of the five-star hotel, to be completed around October 2018 with a grand opening possibly in 2019. The Tsubaki Tower is being built next to another Ken Corp. hotel, Hotel Nikko Guam.
Morinaga yesterday pointed out two features the new tower will have – a lobby offering a panoramic view of the ocean and a type of amphitheater not yet offered on island.
“This will be an open-air amphitheater with seating that will come down to the theater, to the yard, so we can have different types of functions,” said Morinaga. The Tsubaki Tower amphitheater may be another option to attract more MICE (meetings, incentives, conference, exhibitions) type business to Guam, Morinaga said.
“Mr. Sato said we had to have something that is capable of accommodating this MICE business,” Morinaga said. “It will be a different type of hotel that I’m sure people will enjoy coming to.”
Sato and Haneda said about another $20 million to $30 million are estimated for furniture, fixtures and other expenses for the new hotel.
The Guam Economic Development Authority approved tax incentives under a special qualifying certificate program for the construction of the Tsubaki Tower. The special QC program gives developers and owners a tax rebate, exemption or abatement in an equal amount to their total construction cost, which can be applied at the developer’s discretion to real property tax abatement, unpledged business privilege tax, income tax rebate or use tax exemption.
Tsubaki Tower will be the sixth resort in Guam owned by Ken Corp. The company currently owns Hotel Nikko Guam, Hyatt Regency Guam, Pacific Islands Club Guam, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa and Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort. Country Club of the Pacific in Ipan, Talofofo, and Aqua Resort Club and Pacific Islands Club in Saipan are also among the company’s business enterprises in the region.
Sato said at a press conference yesterday that he likes Guam. “Guam is most important destination, most important for Micronesia,” he said.
In addition to extending Ken Corp.’s Premier Hotel Group Tsubaki brand to Guam, Sato said Ken Corp. is going to expand the Pacific Islands Club brand to Japan by building a Pacific Islands Club in Okinawa.
“We are going to bring (the PIC brand) to Okinawa so Okinawa people know much more about PIC,” he said. Sato said it will cost more than $300 million for the new Okinawa hotel.
Sato and Haneda also spoke of Guam’s rising visitor numbers. Haneda said about 20 years ago, Guam welcomed about 600,000 visitors annually, a number that has since climbed to a projected almost 1.4 million this year.
Ken Corp. has contracted Asanuma Corp. and Kokuba-Gumi Co. Ltd. of Okinawa for the Tsubaki Tower construction. Morinaga said Sato contracted Japanese construction companies so they would be able to bring new construction methods and new technology to Guam and teach others in the industry.
“The other construction companies can learn from that and build up on that for the future of Guam,” Morinaga said. With Japan’s superior construction methods, “Mr. Sato wanted to bring these people, the Japanese construction company, here so they can share their knowledge with the people of Guam and to help better the other contractors.”