BY JOY WHITE

Journal Staff

 

As Alter City Group moves closer to starting construction on its Tinian hotel and casino development, the

Sze

Sze

Plumeria Golf & Casino Resort, securing an adequate workforce continues to be a challenge.

The company is to hold an earth-moving ceremony on June 28, indicating the start of efforts to clear vegetation in preparation for construction. Once the vegetation has been cleared, Alter City will obtain additional permits to start work on the development, CEO Edvon Sze told the Journal.

The project is expected to require a workforce of about 5,000 over the 12 years of the resort’s development, according to Journal files.

Alter City is evaluating its options in securing an adequate workforce, Sze said.

The CNMI-Only Transitional Worker visa cap has been reached for 2016, so Alter City is preparing to apply for its share of visas in 2017, he said.

“2016 has been a very challenging year, and we hope that it will be smoother in 2017,” Sze said.

Alter City is considering other options, Sze said, including H2 visas. However, this presents a challenge because the company’s main contractor is based in China, where there are restrictions for obtaining H2 visas.

Sze said an alternate option is reassigning the contractors’ workers from other project sites to Tinian that already have or are eligible for visas. Recruiting U.S. citizens and passport holders is a costly solution and last resort.

The project will be completed in three phases of three or four years each, totaling an investment cost of $1.2 billion. The development will include two hotels, each with more than 1,000 rooms. The resort will also include villas, a water park, a historical and cultural center and an 18-hole golf course.

The company has leased about 150 hectares in Puntan Diablo.

The first phase, with a price tag of roughly $600 million, will include the construction of the first hotel — including timeshare units, a dormitory for staff, 10 villas, easements surrounding the property and a nine-hole golf course.

The aim of the resort is to offer a family-friendly option where guests will want to take long vacation. mbj