Grand Lucayan sale process progressing ‘very well’

Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper said yesterday that drafts of the government’s heads of agreement and purchase agreement for the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama are expected to be reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General this week.

He said negotiations with Electra America Hospitality Group are progressing “very well”.

“The proposed buyer is on the ground in Grand Bahama,” Cooper said.

“They have been there consistently. We’ve met on a few occasions since we made the announcement. We have another meeting next week. We’re working through the agreements, including the heads of agreement and the definitive purchase agreement.

“We expect that those will go for review to the attorney general’s office sometime this week. We are still positive about closing the deal.”

Cooper said he will have more to say on the matter after he meets with the proposed buyers early next week.

He said he is “very happy” with the progress so far.

The government announced last month that Electra has agreed to purchase the resort for $100 million.

A deposit of $5 million will be paid immediately upon execution of the definitive purchase agreement and will become non-refundable at the end of the 60-day due diligence period.

The government expects the deal to be finalized by September “at the latest”, with renovations and new construction immediately after, but no later than, January 1, 2023, Cooper said on May 11.

He said renovations and construction of the resort are expected to be completed by January 1, 2025, with the first renovated hotel to open at the start of 2024.

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

In March 2020, the government signed a heads of agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the ITM Group, which promised to invest more than $300 million in the redevelopment of the property and construction of a cruise port; however, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed and changed the terms of the agreement.

The final buying price was $50 million, which Lucayan Renewal Holdings Chairman Michael Scott described at the time as a “bad deal” for the Bahamian people.

The purchase was never finalized and the Davis administration canceled it not long after it was elected to office last year.

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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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