Guam-based buyers are purchasing the Royal Palm Resort property from Kawasho International (Guam) Inc.

Journal sources said that the purchasers are “local investors actively involved in real estate.””

With a hefty deposit on the land the deal is set to close by the beginning of February.

The parking lot is almost all that remains of the Royal Palm which suffered damage in the Aug. 8 1993 earthquake and was demolished on Dec. 13 1993.

The beachfront property was the subject of Guam’s longest-running court case and one of the most expensive cases in U.S. history.

According to Journal sources the six lots that comprise the property sold for $500 a square meter or $9 135 000.

Tamio S. Clark principal broker for Blue Pacific Realty; marketed the property at an asking price of $5.5 million. After background checks six bidders were given pre-approval about a year ago and invited around Thanksgiving to submit offers by Dec. 5 with final selection scheduled between Dec. 15 and 18 and closing due by Dec. 25. The letter to prospective buyers detailing terms and conditions said that loans for the purchase would not be acceptable. “”Only offers for all cash closing will be considered “” it said.

Sources told the Journal that W. Nicholas Captain president of the Captain Co. and Captain Realty; and Patricia L. Feore Realtor with ReMax Diamond Realty; had both represented clients for the sale. Chun Yu Tai president of Dollar Rent-A-Car; is also understood to have bid on the property.

Captain told the Journal “”My clients decided not to bid due to changes in investment priorities although the short deadline was unattractive from a due diligence perspective.”” Feore declined to comment.

Five of the lots are fee simple totaling 15 916 square meters. The sixth which is 2 354 square meters contains the three-story parking lot. That lot is leasehold at an annual ground rent of $30 000 and owned by Venancio M. and Anna Unpingco. The asking price for that lot was set at $1 million.

The lots stretch from Pale San Vitores through to Tumon Bay. Captain said the property was “”one of the last few remaining ocean-front properties in Tumon”” available for purchase.

The property is zoned for both hotel and condominium usage. Captain said a hotel would not provide an attractive return on the investment and residential or mixed use is anticipated. “”Nobody in their right mind would build a hotel in this [economic] environment.”” He said the property will require much work. “”The foundation [of the hotel] would have to be removed by the buyer because of structural issues.”” The parking lot will almost certainly be demolished prior to condominium development construction Captain said. “”It is a massive structure and provides a lot more parking than you would ever need.”” Because of its location the parking lot would require an extensive walk from any beachfront development he said. “”You’d still end up with a long long undesirable hike.””

The Royal Palm opened on July 27 1993 less than a month before the 62-second earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale brought structural damage to the luxury hotel. Collapse of a tower caused the hotel to lean at a 20-degree angle to Tumon Bay.

For anyone associated with the ownership construction or design of the Royal Palm the shaking would not stop until nearly a decade later.

On Nov. 10 1993 Kawasho filed a civil suit claiming gross construction negligence against construction manager Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd. SsangYong Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. and the Insurance Co. of North America. Trial costs were estimated at between $125 million and $135 million "" enough to build a new hotel (See “”The cost of the Royal Palm trial “” in the June 30 2003 edition of the Journal.).

Some of the 40 expert witnesses earned more than $1 million for analysis deposition and trial testimony. The purpose-built hi-tech courtroom in Harmon Industrial Park came with a price tag of $750 000. The jury sacrificed more than two years and five months at a cost of $473 400 by the time the final verdict was returned. The jury awarded damages of $73.4 million on Dec. 3 200l agreeing that the contractor failed to install – in violation of the design "" hoops or crosstie rebar at more than 600 column-beam joints in the tower that collapsed. Instead SsangYong had installed U-bars. The second phase of the trial to determine punitive damages began on Feb. 13 2002 followed by an award of an additional $73.4 million. Prior to ruling on 31 post-verdict motions involving the amount of the awards Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood who presided over the case called the parties together and suggested they meet in private to discuss a settlement.

The case ended with a secret settlement of $133 million paid to Kawasho by Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd. and its subcontractors (See “”Royal Palm secret settlement uncovered “” in the June 30 2003 issue of the Journal.). The parties signed court settlement documents on Dec. 18 2002 and on Jan. 14 2003 Tydingco-Gatewood affixed her signature to a single-page order that closed the books on the case. MBJ