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Benefits of the buildup for businesses

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - Some of those fighting to keep Pagat machine gun-free are not very enthusiastic about the military buildup - but some residents who view the increase in population in a different light shared their thoughts on the matter.  While Speaker Judi Won Pat called today "a sad day for Guam", saying the concerns of the people were not heard, the bright side of the buildup is felt by some small business owners like Michael Shaw, who came to Guam to cash in on the construction boom.

"Well, there is definitely going to be work for me as a sole proprietor and a businessman tile construction," Shaw said.  "It's getting ready to boom so there is a lot of work."

The real estate industry is another area where financial growth is expected.  Maria Miller, principal broker of Horizon Properties, projects positive affects for investors.  "They came here with the idea the buildup would happen and they would get good return on their investment," she explained.

Miller says many investors sold real estate in other parts of the United States to get ahead of the buildup here, adding, "They sold in areas where the market was getting flat and knew that the potential was here."

A glum economy is also what brought Shaw to Guam, as he speculates on a bright and prosperous future, telling KUAM News, "In the States there is no work, the economy in the States is down.."

Opportunity is up right now for local buyers but miller says they need to act fast.  When Miller was asked what it's like for people looking for housing, she replied, "I would really like to help the local buyer buy before everything gets crazy."

While construction may take off in just a few months the housing boom may be slower to follow.  Shaw said, "It think all the investors had hoped it would happen before now I was listening to I went to a rotary meeting where [David] Bice was talking and he said remember that those 7,800 Marines right now are still in middle school.  I was like, 'Ah, you know, so it's another five years at least before they actually come.'"

Buyers may have a bit more time to beat the buildup, but the squeeze, according to Miller, is already being felt by renters.  "Rentals are already beginning to go up because you have people with housing allowances whether they are military or commercial contractors that have more money than the local people for rent," she said.

This makes for a polarizing effect that may pay off for some. "There is a lot of work lot of contractors coming in a lot of military work getting ready to go and it seems like it about to go full-force," Shaw added. Adds Miller, "I think it's a great place to be.  Right now, it's the only place that has guaranteed growth in the whole United States."

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