Hi Steve, good luck with the book. Saipan news would be that the federalization bill was passed and signed into law commencing June 1, 2009(I hope it was nothing I said...see chamberonomics). An increase of US presence here will be 400-600 government employees (unless the US buys the Hyatt, I don’t know where they will reside).
Two of our last three garment factories will close in Sept. (down from 65) which has had stressed the economy but may help Saipan with new direction in the tourist market. Asiana Airlines has bought Lao Lao Bay golf course and is building a 12 story condo development, the first of its kind in Saipan and the largest development here in over a decade.
The Lt. Governor here was indicted on 3 corruption related felonies to no one’s surprise. Our power rates are some of the highest on US soil and we have no adequate water system. Locals here need help from the US in these areas.
It is still unclear how the Guam military build-up will affect Saipan and Tinian but the US military has assured much activity here.
Russian tourists are vacationing here in record numbers and increasing monthly. The Russian tourists are buying/leasing property and this is a potential growth market here.
Loan default rate at CDA is 87%. We have no financing (would be great opportunity here) and an upscale housing shortage that will require building. Building costs, for the time, are still low.