The government expects to complete the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama within four months, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.
“Well, because I’m not directly involved in these negotiations, it’s difficult for me to say, but I think the general feeling is somewhere around 90 to I guess 120 days,” Turnquest said when called for comment.
“Maybe about three or four months.”
The government purchased the resort last year for $65 million, with $30 million paid upfront.
On Wednesday, the government signed a letter of intent with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and the ITM Group for the purchase of the resort and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour. The two companies are expected to pay $65 million.
Turnquest said the sale of the resort will be “a game changer for the island of Grand Bahama”.
“For a number of years we’ve struggled with an identity, [with] being an island destination but not necessarily unique from any of the other islands or even necessarily from South Florida,” said Turnquest, who is the MP for East Grand Bahama.
“With the attractions that are intended to be attached to both the harbor and the hotel, certainly we believe this will create for us an opportunity to brand Grand Bahama as the fun playground that it is.
“It will give an opportunity for the local entrepreneurs to be empowered and participate not only in the surrounding areas but throughout the island. This, coupled with the Carnival announcement just a few weeks ago, really signals turnaround for the island.”
On Wednesday, the government said that the proposed joint venture between RCL and ITM will “include the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort into a world class destination, featuring water-based family entertainment with dining, gaming and entertainment options, and five-star hotel accommodations”.
The first phase of the development is expected to cost $195 million over two years with the creation of approximately 2,000 jobs.
According to ITM’s proposal, the Grand Lucayan resort complex will be redeveloped into an area called Lucaya Island at a cost of $30 million.
It also proposed the upgrade of the port’s docking facilities at a cost of $35 million and the provision of multi-modal transportation between the proposed Harbour Village and Lucaya Island at a cost of $9.8 million.
ITM’s proposal also suggested that two million cruise passengers per year could be gained by these attractions, and said passenger spend could be about $180 million per year.