Govt’s thinking on resort’s renovation shifts again
As the government finalizes its purchase of the Grand Lucayan from Hutchison Whampoa, Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited Chairman Michael Scott said yesterday that based on an engineering report on the three brands at the resort, if the government chooses to go forward with renovations, the likely choice would be Breaker’s Cay.
The resort features Memories, Breaker’s Cay and Lighthouse Pointe.
Scott made the statement to the media following separate meetings with the Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers and the employees of the resort. Lucayan Renewal is the special purpose vehicle established to oversee the sale of the resort to a new buyer.
When asked whether the government still planned to renovate Memories, Scott revealed the possibility of renovating Breaker’s Cay.
“No, we’re not going to,” he said.
“If we renovate any hotel property, based on our engineering report, it’s likely to be Breaker’s.”
Scott did not detail the reasons for the apparent change in plan or the contents of the engineering report, which guided the new direction.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said during a tour of the property in August that the government will assess the cost to open Memories, despite a previous statement by Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar that the government was only going to hold the resort and not renovate it. D’Aguilar later said if a buyer did not come soon enough the government would have to renovate Memories.
The cost to renovate Memories was not made public and it is also unknown how much it would cost to renovate Breaker’s Cay.
The resort was damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Only the 200-room Lighthouse Pointe reopened after the storm.
Breaker’s Cay and Memories remain shuttered.
At the time Minnis and a delegation of government officials and media personnel toured the resort, Breaker’s Cay and Memories had exposed cinder blocks on the side of the buildings.
The ceiling near the Willy Broadleaf’s buffet in Breaker’s Cay was also exposed, showing rusted beams, torn sheet rock and cinder blocks.
The buffet itself was littered with sand in some quarters.
The pool in front of Breaker’s Cay was filled with what looked like dark swamp water.
The pools stretches from one end of Breaker’s Cay to the Chinese restaurant, China Café.
The government is purchasing the resort for $65 million – $30 million up front and $35 million on a three-and-a-half-year government guaranteed mortgage, which will require parliamentary approval.
At least $10 million has been paid so far.
The sale of the resort was executed on Tuesday.
The sale is expected to be finalized on September 19 after Parliament passes a resolution to guarantee the remaining $35 million.
“We wanted to just assure the staff that business really continues as before, nothing changes; that we are trying to come to grips with the conditions here; that we will ensure that fair treatment is accorded; that no one will be in any way prejudiced as a result of the transition, that it will be seamless; that those who want to retire from employment at the Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino will be treated fairly [and] will have their separation or termination packages in accordance with the union entitlements; and that those who want to continue working will continue working as before with their employment rights accrued,” Scott said.
“And I highlighted what the plans are of the government in terms of promoting the property for sale and reiterating that the government is not in the business of operating hotels; that it is a catalyst for resort development and investment, and that we are looking for the right fit for Port Lucaya and the Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino.
“And that is essentially what it is all about.”
Asked whether there are potential buyers, Scott said there are, but did not wish to disclose them as those details remain sensitive.
“We are looking at investment proposals and screening them and screening their viability and suitability for this particular product,” he noted.
Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers President Michelle Dorsett said yesterday’s meeting with Scott and the staff was positive.
She said the union awaits more details from Minnis, who is expected to make a statement in Parliament next Wednesday.