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By Morgan Legel and
Journal Staff

Jan. 4
New restaurant chain coming to island

A new restaurant syndicate, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, made its island debut in Micronesia Mall, in the space Hibachi-San previously occupied. The specialty chicken restaurant is operated as a franchise, run by Panda Restaurant Group, which does business as Panda Express. The Panda-Cane’s franchise has locations in Hawaii and Alaska as well.

Menu items include chicken fingers, crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, Texas toast, a chicken sandwich option, drinks and an original dipping sauce, Cane’s Sauce.


Feb. 1
Who’s Who of businesses on list of GEDA rental assistance funding

The 2020 CARES Act provided funding for various grants on island, including a Guam Economic Development Authority rent relief grant. Although GEDA had already dispersed more than $21 million in other grants, 292 businesses that applied for rent relief are still waiting to hear if they will get help.

GEDA did not know if or when it would receive the additional $1.75 million in rent relief funding; as of Jan. 20, 1,039 businesses had applied for the grant, which paid up to two months of rent relief. Just under 290 businesses were ruled ineligible.

GEDA approved 695 applications for rental relief grants, and as at Jan. 21 had distributed 403 checks totaling just under $3 million.

Editor’s note: The Journal published lists of recipients of SBA grants and GEDA grants. Some were posted electronically as breaking news in Journal news updates. See


March 8
The grocery isle: Pay-Less has plans for Guam

While 2020 was a year that saw challenges for PMC Investments Inc., parent company to Pay-Less Markets Inc., PDC Wholesale (which includes warehousing), PMC Real Estate and Pay-Less Logistics, the business’ multiple investment plans went in to play in 2021.

Plans include expanding processing plants, strengthening real estate holdings and multi-store renovations. Additionally, the launch of a customer loyalty program was added to the supermarket chain’s plans for the year.

NMHC rolls out $254 million housing and infrastructure programs

The Northern Mariana Islands received the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery action plan, which with supplemental funding amounted to $254,324,000, making it the largest federal aid in the history of the Commonwealth. Intended to help address the recovery needs of the NMI following the back-to-back devastation brought by super typhoon Yutu and typhoon Mangkhut in 2018, the grant was aimed at helping with housing, infrastructure and economic development. Programs like the Homeowner Rehabilitation and Reconstruction program, the Single-Family homebuyer/New Construction Development program and the Affordable Rental Housing Development program were a direct result.


April 5
Guarding the future: Expansion is part of the five-year plan

Maj. General Esther J.C. Aguigui, adjutant general of the Guam Guard, expressed many plans for the future of the island, including establishing a Space Squadron, which will be one of eight in the nation. The five-year plan also includes additional construction and recruitment.


May 3
Trade must wait: Flights lack the seats for business staff

With the country’s borders closed for more than one year due to COVID-19, businesses in the Marshall Islands became increasingly desperate for lack of ability to bring in supervisors and workers with skills unavailable locally.

The Marshall Islands’ strict entry requirements has allowed the country to evade COVID-19, but the Chamber of Commerce asked local businesses to provide lists of key personnel they need to bring in so the chamber can provide detailed information to the government’s National Disaster Committee for repatriation consideration. Stranded Marshallese were approved to return, undergoing a two-week quarantine.

A view of the first coastal surveillance system installed in Kayangel state.
Journal file photo

June 7
All systems go: Radar in Palau moves ahead

Efforts to give Palau an increased U.S. military presence, due to its strategic location in a volatile geo-political area, began to move forward with radar installations.

The U.S.-funded a first-of-its-kind Coastal Surveillance System which was completed in Kayangel and Angaur states and will be installed in three more sites in Hatohobei and Sonsorol states in the southwest islands.

The U.S. will also install aerial domain awareness systems in Ngaraard and Angaur. Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Command Pacific began soliciting for a Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar in mid-May — with a transmitter site on Babeldaob and a receiver on the island of Angaur, according to Journal sources, to “increase maritime awareness in the Asia Pacific region.” BAE Systems designed the radar.


July 5
Tumon tower: Hongwell plans to grace the bay

A new hotel, waterpark and parking structure is planned for the four-and-a-half-acre lot of the previous Royal Palm Hotel property, which is owned by Honhui Guam LLC, a subsidiary of Hongwell Group Taipei, a real estate development company based in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

The new resort will contain a waterpark and the design was to be aimed at incorporating stone, rock and local vegetation. The new structure is planned to be the tallest hospitality property in Tumon.

Aug. 2
Show me the meat: Studies have not resulted in a slaughterhouse

For decades, a longstanding issue for the agricultural community has been the lack of a slaughterhouse. While many points have been discussed, including not having enough livestock to ensure demand for a slaughterhouse is met, the answer has everything to do with funding and construction.

The only two factors keeping a slaughterhouse from coming to fruition are who will run it and where the money would come from to build it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers grants, loans and funding that could help solve one of these issues.

As to who would operate a slaughterhouse, this could be anyone from an individual with deep pockets who believes in the cause, to a coalition of producers who want to come together and pool funds and responsibility.


USDA-certified slaughterhouse to open; Tinian moves to revitalize cattle industry in the NMI

Tinian planned to open its own U.S. Department of Agriculture certified slaughterhouse Aug. 13, which would be an initial investment of more than $400,000 from the Tinian Cattlemen’s Association, although Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said he would also support the slaughterhouse with $1 million of ARPA funding.

The slaughterhouse is the Tinian Kualidat Meat Processing Center, with the actual slaughterhouse unit measuring roughly about 36 feet long, and no more than 12 feet in width. The objective behind bringing in the USDA certification is to make local beef accessible to all.


Sept. 6
Polishing the Crowne: Hotels to open in 2021 and 2022

Saipan and Guam’s Fiesta Resorts were rebranded and due to open as Crowne Plaza resorts at the end of the 2021 and in early 2022, respectively.

The Saipan location planned to open by mid-December 2021 and plans are for the Guam Crowne Plaza open its doors at some point in the first quarter of 2022, though aiming for January.

Construction for the location in Guam came in at the $40 million range and construction cost more than $30 million in Saipan.


The application to the Guam Department of Land Management – which will be heard on Sept. 22 – includes a height variance application for 13 stories for each condominium structure.
Journal file photo

Sep. 17
The vista looks bright – group moves ahead with major development

Vista del Mar International LLC stood poised to begin the approval process for a project that will add resort and residential facilities to Guam’s inventory, at an estimated development cost of $590 million. More than 53.1 acres comprised of seven undeveloped land lots on the Harmon cliff line close to Two Lovers Point will be developed. The property includes a 55,000-square-meter beachfront lot sloping to water level.

Vista del Mar will be the first hotel-resort and multi-family residential and single-family residential development within the Dos Amantes Planning Area.

Vista del Mar plans a multi-use development with hotel towers and residential units, proposing an increase of 9.6% to Guam’s current inventory of guest rooms, plus condominiums and single-family dwellings.

Editor’s Note: This story was posted electronically for Journal subscribers and readers. The project is still within the Guam Land Use Commission’s approval process. The Tamuning Municipal Planning Council unanimously approved the project.


Oct. 4
New name; same game: Coast Guard gets influx of CIP funding

Guam’s 307 active-duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel, now operating as Coast Guard Forces Micronesia and Sector Guam, will soon be able to take advantage of changes being made at the Naval Base Guam compound, in the form of two large capital improvement projects: a cutter center designed as a secondary location for the officers on Guam’s fast-response cutters and a reconfiguration to the current command center.


Nov. 1
Building back better: Atkins Kroll renovating for customer satisfaction

Atkins Kroll Inc. was set to begin construction for the Toyota showroom on Nov. 1. The 7,300 square-foot, $2.7 million renovation will be comprised of updating and creating a five-car showroom, management office, sales support areas, a new customer lounge café, restrooms, a dedicated new car delivery suite and exterior improvements.

As part of the planned construction, the Toyota Customer Service Center is also being renovated, with a price tag of approximately $500,000. The existing customer check-in lounge, Toyota Rent-A-Car, Customer Service restroom, and service administration offices are all being refitted with custom manufactured joinery, new floors, ceilings, lighting and furniture.

Dec. 6
Through the roof: Demand and prices for homes rising

Throughout the pandemic, Guam’s residential real estate sector continued to show high demand, with houses selling for above appraised value and asking price. This was fueled by low-interest rates, limited additional supply and the prospect of real estate as a hedge against inflation.

Planned housing developments continue to be built. They include Paradise Court, a 17-unit development in Mangilao with construction underway which should be finished by mid-2022; Summer Towers Villa next to Guam Memorial Hospital, which will offer eight villas for sale in 2022; a 10-story, 42-unit Tumon condo project behind DFS; Bayview Townhouses, with 12 to 16, two-story units; the Two Lover’s Point single house subdivision, with 200 units or more housing close to Tanguisson beach; Phase one of the Summer Breeze project, which includes 64 affordable housing units; Lada Estates, which has 463 units; Summer Towers 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Tamuning next to GMH, with 195 units; Oceanview Residences in Upper Tumon, with 76 units; Rancho Villa in Yigo, with eight units; Bel Air apartments in Mangilao, with  26 units; Pacifica apartments in Tamuning, with 18 units; Sunset apartments in Tamuning, with five units; and Premier apartments in Yigo, with 10 units. mbj