Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday the government is finalizing negotiations with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and the ITM Group over the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort.
Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Turnquest said, “Again, it is moving forward.”
He continued, “I don’t know the specific timeframe at the moment but I know that the major issues have been resolved. And so, it’s just a matter now of tidying all up and getting it done.”
Asked if that meant negotiations were being finalized, he replied, “That’s my understanding.”
In 2018, the government purchased the property, which is located on Grand Bahama, for $65 million with an initial capital investment of $32.4 million.
It signed a letter of intent with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and the ITM Group in March for the purchase of the resort for $65 million and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour.
The resort sustained minimal damage during Hurricane Dorian in early September.
However, according to Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Category 5 storm slowed down negotiations.
“The only way that it’s impacted negotiations is obviously all the Cabinet ministers, all the decision-makers and policymakers have been focused on the storm and so the negotiations themselves have been pushed back a couple of weeks,” D’Aguilar said last October.
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 multimodal 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.