Wednesday, January 14, 2009

DoD May Have to Compete With Developers

DoD may have to compete with developers
Thursday, 15 January 2009
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff

THE Department of Defense might have to compete with private developers and the Guam International Airport Authority for the acquisition of Yigo lands, which are being considered by the military as a potential site for a new firing range.

Rolenda Faasuamalie, public information officer for GIAA, said the airport authority is eyeing a portion of the target property as the site of the $16 million municipal airport project to be funded by the Federal Aviation Authority.

GIAA was among the three bidders that responded last year to the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority's solicitation for lease and development of the 395-acre property owned by the Chamorro Land Trust Commission and Ancestral Lands Commission.

"We received a notification that we ranked third, but we're not aware of the current status of the bidding selection," Faasuamalie said.

She added that FAA-funded studies have already identified the ancestral lands on Route 15 as the most ideal site for the municipal airport project, which is part of the government's aviation enhancement initiative.

Faasuamalie said the proposed municipal airport will be designated for private small aircrafts so that don't they mix with commercial planes as they do now at the existing airport.

"We're being optimistic about the future, and trying to meet our space and capacity," she said. "It would require that the government give us authority to use the land."

Faasuamalie said GIAA has not identified an alternative site for the municipal airport.

Mike Cruz, manager of GEDCA's Real Property Division, said the selection committee has evaluated the bidding proposals and ranked the bidders, accordingly, but no final decision has been made.

"We have to go into negotiation with the first ranked bidder, but we haven't started yet. We have to get together with the negotiating team which will include the Ancestral Lands Commission," Cruz said.

He confirmed that GIAA was among the bidders but declined to identify the two other bidders.

"We will negotiate with the No. 1 bidder first, and if it didn't work out, we would proceed with the ones next in line," Cruz said.

He said the developer that will eventually be awarded the lease would be allowed to use the property however it wants.

"We don't limit how private developers want to use the property. We believe the private sector knows the market," Cruz said.

The Land Trust property and the roughly 250 acres of land being occupied by the Guam International Raceway are currently being surveyed by military contractors.

The Joint Guam Program Office has confirmed that DoD is considering those properties for the construction of non-live fire training facilities.

"We have authorized (the military) to access the property and take a look at these areas. They told us that they're looking at these properties as part of the (environmental impact assessment)," Cruz said. "But they never said they will acquire or use it."

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