BY EMILY MEIDENBAUER
Construction projects on Guam have persisted despite the COVID-19 ramifications, permitting delays, and other challenges.
Future World Corp, a Guam-based general contractor, has been operating for more than 20 years. The location in Barrigada is currently undergoing a 22,000 square foot extension, bringing the building to an approximate total of 25,000 square feet, and increasing its size dramatically. The extension will be used for office space and storage. The cost of investment for the extension and renovations was $2,500,000.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of September, though Richard S. Chi, president and general manager of Future World Corp. said there have been some delays in the permitting process.
“During the pandemic we got the building permit,” he said. “Permitting is the delay. It took a couple months for permitting due to COVID-19.”
Future World Corp. originally applied to begin the permitting process in November 2019, and the permit was issued in August 2020.
American Grocery is again in growth mode. The supermarket has an existing location in Dededo, which according to Journal files it expanded in 2006. American Grocery has a new supermarket under construction in Maite. The contractor is CU Construction, and the cost of the project is $3,682,785.
The company applied for a permit for the Maite location in August 2017, and the permit was issued in November of 2019. The permit was revised in October 2020 to modify the drawing for a janitorial and electrical room, and to add a tank.
American Grocery also opened its Yigo location on June 18 after months of delay. The store was previously scheduled to open around December 2019.
Bryan Noket, general manager for American Grocery, told the Journal the Yigo store has added 15 employees to the workforce, and each of the locations will carry the same stock. The Yigo store will have a grand opening, but Noket said as to when, he said, “We’re not sure.” The store is still waiting to get its Electronic Benefit Transfer status, so it can accept Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program cards, formerly known as the Food Stamp program.
As to whether American Grocery will expand in time to the south of Guam, Noket said, “We’ll see. We’ve thought about it.”
Other projects proceeding relate to real estate.
On June 10, the Guam Land Use Commission heard a case regarding Songsong Hills Subdivision LLC., for tentative subdivision approval for the construction of 72 single-family lots with full improvements in Yigo. The commission had previously approved the tentative subdivision in April 2012, approved an extension of time in August 2013, and in August 2014, there was an approval for submission of a bond for completion of improvements. The application was accepted on March 5, 2020.
The intent of the project is,“to create a gated subdivision to be developed into two phases consisting of 72 single-family residential lots ranging in size from 5,007 square feet to 7,253 square feet, a bio-retention pond lot, an open playground green area lot, and a 40-foot wide internal non-public street with sidewalks, curb and gutter, streetlights, fire hydrants, a perimeter fence, landscaping, and an off-site bus shelter,” according to Celine Cruz, chief planner.
Phase one will consist of 26 residential lots, and phase 2 will consist of 46 residential lots. The total lot area is 55,621 square meters and is located in Yigo on the western side of Marine Corps Drive with its entrance located between the Latter-Day Saints church and the Yigo Guam Power Authority Substation.
“We’re anticipating finishing the infrastructure for the first 26 lots by early July this year,” William Barry, construction manager said at the hearing. “We’re hooked up already with water and we’re hooked into the sewer and the project is moving along pretty well.”
In addition, gating of the roadways and installation of streetlights are to be completed by mid-June. The subdivision will likely not qualify under the affordable housing classification. According to Barry, the properties would likely be in the range of $400,000 – $500,000.
“There’s a shortage of concrete out there, that slowed us down a little, but the housing is moving along,” Barry said.
The commission unanimously approved the tentative sub-division and heard a second case during the same meeting.
The representative of Tasi Vista Development LLC requested an extension of time pursuant to for a previously approved subdivision for the proposed development of 62 single-family lots with full improvements in Mongmong-Toto-Maite in an R2 multi-family dwelling zone. Residential lots range in size from 680 square meters to 1,704 square meters. The project also does not qualify as affordable housing. The commission originally approved the project in March 2020.
The applicant’s request noted that the public health emergency caused delays, and they cited the pandemic as the reason for the request for the extension of time. Planning staff recommended approval of the request, provided that the applicant continued compliance to the conditions specified on the notice of action dated March 16, 2020.
“We all know what happened in 2020,” said Eduardo A. Calvo, attorney at Calvo, Fisher & Jacob LLP and representative for Tasi Vista Development LLC. “We appreciate the recommendation of the chief planner and we are proceeding with the project. We [did] as much work as we possibly could during 2020 and continue to move forward with the project. It’s been a difficult past 12 months, but despite that, we’ve made pretty significant progress and will continue to do so in earnest.”
The commission also unanimously approved the request for the extension of time. — Maureen N. Maratita contributed to this