GEDA looking at Oka Point for next big hotel development - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEDA looking at Oka Point for next big hotel development

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Its considered one of the most attractive Government of Guam properties yet its been sitting idle for years. However that could all change as a determination of need was recently submitted expected to finally move the development of Oka Point forward.  

"Oka Point is obviously one of the jewels of the Government of Guam in terms of real estate and over the years there's been discussion of developing Oka Point for economic benefit," said GEDA chairman E.J. Calvo.

But before any of that can happen, island leaders are taking the necessary steps to ensure the approximately 38 acres of property can be developed. Just last month, the Governor's Office submitted to the Guam Legislature a determination of need for the exceptional term contract for the property that once housed the old Guam Memorial Hospital. "The determination of need is required by the recent law in order to lease property for over five years regarding CLTC property so its part of the process in seeking approval from the Governor's Office as well as the Legislature before we officially go out for RFP," he said.

The Chamorro Land Trust Commission is proposing a lease term of up to 50 years with one or more options to extend the term for an additional 49 years. The property is likely to require an investment of more than $180 million. Calvo says the agency is working closely with CLTC on uses that will not only generate revenue but draw new investment to the island.

"Obviously the proximity to Tumon and Hotel Row calls for potential hotel development and perhaps other attractions that will be vital in our hotel industry," he said.

Another selling point is its proximity to a Chamorro cultural center and possibly using the property as a venue for large scale events like regional and international meetings, conventions and entertainment. GVB general manager Karl Pangelinan said, "It's adding to the opportunity for development it's not set in stone that it's going to be a hotel room, there's a very good likelihood that whomever chooses to develop it will make a hotel facility and we've been very, very loud about the need for additional rooms here on Guam so anything adding to that opportunity we're very, very supportive of."

It was late last year, when GVB and GEDA presented Oka Point to hundreds of members from the premier hotel investment community during the hotel investment conference Asia Pacific in Hong Kong. It was considered the first step in marketing the property.

"We haven't been contacted by any specific investors, but we are aware of several potential hotel developments looking at Guam," he said.

Calvo says he doesn't anticipate any major challenge in working with lawmakers as for over a decade, it was actually the legislature who supported development at Oka Point.

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