CAPITOL HILL Saipan — The Cordish Company a Baltimore-based conglomerate apparently keen on building a $200-million casino and golf resort on Tinian has started going through the Northern Mariana Islands permitting process to get the project off the ground according to Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez.

Villagomez said he met with the company’s representative Mark Zachares and former secretary of NMI labor and immigration on May 23. Villagomez said Zachares made a presentation about the scope of Cordish’s plans and an agreement was reached for the local government to provide assistance with the permitting process.

According to Villagomez “The presentation went pretty good. They want to build a casino a golf course and some condominiums.” He said “They are committed to get through the permitting process. We will provide all the information needed.”

Villagomez said Zachares also met with members of the Legislature and the Tinian municipal government. He said it was Zachares who initiated talks between Cordish officials and the local government regarding the project.

In April the Cordish Company signed a memorandum of agreement with Gov. Benigno R. Fitial regarding the project.

Cordish began in 1910 when founder Louis Cordish developed office and apartment complexes in the Baltimore and Washington area.

The company covers four generations and is now headed by David S. Cordish Louis’ grandson who organized the company’s real estate development division in the mid 1960s.

Aside from real estate Cordish also has interests in restaurants clubs entertainment media and film and shopping centers.

Cordish also has ties with Hard Rock Café the Walt Disney Co. Barnes & Noble ESPN Zone Tommy Hilfiger The Gap Wal-Mart Home Depot Levi’s Toys R Us and Circuit City.

Cordish is the third group to express interest in opening a casino resort on Tinian. Bridge Investment Group and Marianas Resort Development Co. are other companies interested in establishing a presence in the NMI. MBJ