Hagåtña can welcome a new commercial building of 6 000 square feet in the heart of the village.

The facility is a new project of Tanota Partners the development company specializing in hotel commercial and apartment rental. One to six tenants can occupy the three floors of the structure.

Michael Z. Ysrael general manager of Tanota Partners said “We have a new building going up in Agana and it is now completed. We are now waiting for tenants.” He said the Casa Espana building is a new investment near the Skinner Plaza in Hagåtña. “It is my hope that this will be the new breed of commercial buildings for Guam.”

Ysrael said he acquired the property from the Perez family. The sale was recorded on Dec. 10 2003 for $130 000 for the 525 square meter lot.

While the building is targeted at the commercial sector and offers the attractions of a new facility Ysrael recognized the market might not be ready to support the additional rental space. “I was excited about developing a commercial property on that property. Not so much because there is a demand for commercial space — there isn’t — but nonetheless I was excited about developing a nice project that would compliment Guam’s culture in the location of Skinner Plaza with all its historical significance.”

The building boasts a Spanish-style house design incorporating the triple arch motif Spanish roof tiles a Spanish-style balcony and decorative shutters blended with contemporary architectural designs.

“The building has covered parking. We have ADA [American with Disabilities Act-compliant] elevators and ADA bathrooms. There is an emergency generator within the secured portion of the building. The windows are a half inch thick with protective films ” Ysrael said. “The structure of the building was built so that we could add four to six inches of insulation on the walls as well as several inches underneath the ceiling. We wanted to go for a very highly energy efficient building and we’re also looking at using motion detector sensors in certain common areas to automatically turn off the lights in the night time when there is no activity in the building.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers categorized parts of the village of Hagåtña as flood prone or in a flood zone but Ysrael said the building is spared from that designation. “There is currently a horrific hold on all development in the Agana area. We were lucky that our property was just barely outside this zone. Nonetheless because of the close proximity to the ocean and Agana always being a low lying area historically… we built the building on stilts.” According to Ysrael because the first floor of office space is not on the ground it also fits in well with other historic Spanish style houses in Hagåtña.

The building’s frame is constructed of structural steel. “In order to withstand the earthquakes and also to have very thin columns to maximize parking and maximize interior space to have almost column free interiors. We have pre-caste walls with a rubber membrane between the walls.”

The building does not feature typhoon shutters. Instead double-paned windows able to withstand typhoon strength winds were installed. Ysrael also said the air conditioning system is designed to ward off any potential mold problems. “We have employed ultra-violet lights within our AC systems and we are preconditioning the air before it enters the building.”

Interested potential tenants can contact Tanota Partners at 646-1384.

Tanota Partners owns and manages several commercial properties and rentals to include Sunset Apartments Windward Hills Apartments Bel Air Gardens Mariposa Park condominiums at Bayshore and Agana Bay Yigo homes Harmon Apartments Pacifica Apartments Guam Medical Plaza The Plaza Sirena Plaza Micro Plaza Pacifica Commercial Mid Pac Warehouse Bel Air Commercial the IT&E Building and Pacifica Plaza.

The company also owns three hotels The Ohana Oceanview The Ohana Bayview and The Outrigger Guam Resort managed by Outrigger Hotels of Hawaii.

Tanota Partners also looks forward to building Phase Four of its Tumon Development Project. However Ysrael continues to be critical of the government of Guam. He contends tax increases and other laws are making Guam unwelcoming for investors and developers to build such projects.

He said “The hotel industry is facing three new sets of taxes. All of them are just as bad as the 2% GRT [Gross Receipts Tax] increase that the Democratic legislature instituted a year or two ago.” The three proposals in the legislature include Bill No. 98 “An Act To Authorize the creation of the Tumon Bay Special Improvement District ” introduced by senators Antonio R. Unpingco and Eddie B. Calvo Bill No. 155 would create the $3 fixed rate room tax to build a Guam National Museum through the creation of The Guahan Heritage Facilities Fund introduced by senators Rory J. Respicio and Benjamin J. Cruz and Bill No. 156 would increase the occupancy tax from 11% to 13% introduced by Sen. Lou A. Leon Guerrero.

“That’s 20 to 25% of its gross revenues going straight to the government for God knows what ” he said. “Under the current tax scheme we have hotels built at $150 million being sold for $15 million $20 million $30 million and now they want more. That’s not progress.”

Ysrael said “The industry originally was paying 4% GRT and then the industry went to the legislature and said they would agree to pay 9% occupancy tax in lieu of the 4% GRT. So basically the industry agreed to tax itself at twice the level if the money was going to go into a fund that was going to promote the industry.” He said the government then raised the occupancy tax from 9% to 11%. MBJ