Starts Guam Golf Resort is to build on-course homes within its approximately 1 160 000 square-meter property by next year. The resort’s management intends to offer multi-million dollar homes duplexes and condominiums.

Noboru Izumi general manager of the resort said “We plan on building 50 free-standing homes duplexes and a condominium [complex] on our North Course near holes 6 and 7.” The homes and condominiums will be aimed at attracting buyers and renters at the upper end of the market.

The resort already improved the property and Izumi said additional course upgrades and renovations should begin in April 2006. “At that time we also plan on beginning the development.”

While Izumi would not give any specific details about the proposal as many details are yet to be finalized he said local contractors would be involved in the planning of the development. “We do have a designer in Japan and they may work together on the design.” He said “During the Hatsuho era there were plans for a development here. So all we have to do is make amendments to that plan. I am told that it won’t be too hard to move forward with the project.” An additional manager would be brought in to oversee the project.

Izumi said homeowners and people living within the Starts compound might have certain privileges. “They can have access to the hotel the tennis courts and a discount on course fees.”

He said the resort’s new housing would also likely appeal to the military market. “We want to offer the homes and condominiums to the local people. I also think it will be good for the military because they are so close.” The golf resort is about a mile or more from the front gate of Andersen Air Force Base.

Izumi is intent on rebuilding the reputation of the resort as a first class facility and destination. He said there were a number of improvements made to the resort since February when the resort was purchased and renamed. “We improved the two tennis courts the lobby area we opened a new restaurant [the Sensui] we bought new grounds equipment to improve the course and we have a fitness center.”

Improvements at the resort are already at about $1.1 million.

Additionally the resort’s grounds have been improved. “We planted a new landscape in front of the hotel.” The resort also bought a new karaoke system that guests can use for free in a 10-foot by 40-foot private room. “I plan to put a wall in the middle and make it two rooms ” he said. Izumi said Alte management closed down a small lobby bar that was successful during the Hatsuho era with many military personnel stopping in for drinks. Izumi wants to serve different beverages. “It will be a small nice coffee shop.”

According to Izumi the resort also bought about 40 new golf carts some with four seats. As “Aging fleets of golf cars find fairways to heaven” in the Sept. 19 edition of the Journal indicated Starts purchased 24 new electric E-Z-GO carts that were delivered in April. “We also bought new rental clubs — the Mizuno brand — and they came in last month [September].” Golfers should also notice a difference in the speed and texture of the green on the North Course hole No. 5. “We put in new turf on that course and we are really pleased with it. We brought it in from Hawaii — it’s called Seashore Salem.” He said the entire course would feature the new grass.

Izumi is also looking to market widely to the surrounding community that hosts the resort. “We have a Japanese-style bath for our members but I am also looking at opening it up as a spa to everyone.” The Starts Resort hotel has four stories with 62 rooms and a restaurant. It also features a barbecue pavilion near the pool that can accommodate 150 people. “We can also cater the party and offer use of the pool for children.” Izumi said local “getaway” rates are available at the hotel and that people interested in a weekend stay can call for details. “We also have a new Japanese restaurant — the Sensui (springs) and it is open to everyone.” The Fontana restaurant is also considering a Sunday brunch menu.

Izumi said since taking over in April the hotel sees 80% hotel capacity during the peak season. “Japanese tourists make up about 70% of our players between December and April.” In the off-season between May and November he said it is usually the opposite with local players comprising 70% to 80% of attendees and visitors pegged at 20% to 30%.

Izumi plans to create an approach range in the immediate future. “We have a driving range now. The approach range will accommodate six to seven players. On a driving range you can practice your swing but you lose your ball.” He said “On an approach range you have a flag a bunker and you can retrieve your ball … you are able to focus on a target.”

Izumi’s target is to create more business for the resort. He said Starts attracted players that played about 30 000 rounds of golf in 2004 “This year we are looking at over 40 000 rounds.”

Izumi told the Journal while Starts Japan’s core business is real estate it is also a diversified company. “The company is a real estate company in Japan but also a credit bank travel agency publishing and hotel resort. Guam is the first off-shore resort operation.”

The resort opened in 1987 and was first owned and operated as the Hatsuho International Country Club. In July 1992 nine holes were added to the course along with the Hatsuho Green Park Hotel. On May 26 1998 Hatsuho International Country Club was sold at a foreclosure to HMK Guam Inc. which leased the property to Alte Guam Golf Resort that same day. (See “Shitaku Kin ” in the January 2001 issue of Guam Business magazine.) The parent company of Starts Guam Golf Resort Starts Corp. took over operations in April 2004 by purchasing 100% of the stocks in Alte Guam Golf Resort Inc.

Starts Corp. is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is described by Bloomberg as a company that sells leases develops and manages real estate properties and through subsidiaries operates publishing and network media businesses.

Starts Corp.’s acquisition of Alte Guam was simultaneous with the March 30 2004 sale to GE Real Estate of $906.5 million in loans made to Alte Co. Ltd. a real estate company by Resona Bank Ltd. thereby making Alte a group company of GE.

GE Real Estate in Japan is a business unit of General Electric Co. (See “Starts Corp. acquires Alte Guam Golf Resort” story in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal.) MBJ