Despite dozens of potential buyers for the Grand Lucayan resort, the government is not yet ready to pat itself on the back with regard to its investment, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said.
The government purchased the resort last year for $65 million. It hopes to find a qualified buyer by the end of the second quarter of 2019.
“…We believe that based on what we’ve seen so far that there is going to be a transformational aspect to this development that is going to really all go well for the sustainability of the tourism product of Grand Bahama and for the economy of Grand Bahama,” Turnquest told The Nassau Guardian.
“…And I don’t want to pat ourselves on the back yet but, so far, we are encouraged and we’re certainly looking forward to success in that project very shortly.”
Lucayan Renewal Holdings, which is chaired by attorney Michael Scott, is a special purpose vehicle established by the government with the purpose of handling the process and is also responsible for finding the buyer.
The assets purchased include 405 acres of land; seven buildings containing seven million square feet of space; 1,271 rooms and suites; 19 restaurants and lounges; 15 meeting rooms; 45,000 square feet of meeting space; three pools; an 18-hole golf course; a casino; a spa; and a fitness center.
On Monday, Scott said there are “in excess of 60 bids” on the table for the purchase of the resort.
He said all the interested buyers had submitted their proposals before the deadline of February 15.
Turnquest said the government is “very, very happy with the number of potential buyers of this property”.
“As the chairman would’ve said, there is some of these [buyers] that are of real substance that will bring something to this island,” he said.
“Some of the projects are more inclusive and holistic than others. Nonetheless, all have their particular and strong attributes. And, so, the committee has a very difficult job of deciding what is the best route for us.”
He added: “When we decided to purchase the Lucayan property, I believe then as I do today that it was the right thing to do. It took away from the discussion, the emotion, the side interests that was involved at the time and put it squarely in our hands where we have the opportunity to engage potential buyers without all of the distractions and other things that come along with a private negotiation.”
On Thursday, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the resort will probably take another 12 to 18 months to reopen.