Grand Lucayan buyer must have deep pockets, FNM leader says

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Michael Pintard said yesterday that the Minnis administration had an interested buyer offer to purchase the Grand Lucayan resort for more than $80 million.

His comments came one day after Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper said the government is aiming to sell the resort for $150 million.

“It is my understanding from persons who were intimately involved in the process that while the majority of the offers that have been made have been south of $80 million, that does not include every single offer,” Pintard said when called for comment.

“If they had six on the table, while four of them would have been south of $80 million, as long as you have someone in the market willing to pay for an item — in this case, the hotel — I cannot fault anyone for believing that it’s in the realm of possibility.”

He said he believes the previous offer has given Cooper confidence that the government will be able to sell the resort at that price.

Pintard said any buyer willing to pay more than $80 million for the resort likely believes they have the ability “to transform it into a winning proposition” for them and their shareholders.

Pintard said the companies who are offering to buy the resort need to be vetted to ensure that they are legitimate and have “deep enough pockets not only to purchase but also to conduct the renovations”.

He said renovations could cost as much as $300 million.

 “The buyer has to be a substantial buyer who can not only purchase but invest in the transformation,” he said.

The Minnis administration purchased the resort from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million.

The agreement between the government and Bahamas Port Investments Limited was signed in March 2020, under the Minnis administration, and the final buying price was $50 million.

The redevelopment of the property was set to start last year but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed and changed the terms of the agreement.

The Davis administration announced last month that it had terminated that agreement because it was not in the best interest of Bahamians.

On Wednesday, Cooper said it will take six weeks to shortlist qualified buyers for the resort.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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