Above: Robert De Niro signs the agreement
By Alexander Britell
Film star Robert De Niro has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a hotel project on the island of Barbuda.
De Niro signed a memorandum of understanding with Prime Minister Gaston Browne this week for an investment project pegged at around $250 million.
De Niro, who is reportedly a frequent guest to Antigua’s Jumby Bay hotel, was also named by Browne as the country’s newest “special economic envoy.”
“We are indeed very delighted that you will be embarking on a very exciting project on Barbuda, transforming the island, making it one of the most exciting islands in the region,” Browne said. “It is my belief that your celebrity status will attract more American celebrities to Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean.”
The project, which De Niro is undertaking with Australian James Packer, will involve the renovation and expansion of the K-Club on Barbuda.
It’s not De Niro’s first hotel project; in the last few decades he has quietly built a sizable hospitality portfolio, highlighted by his work with restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa on the Nobu restaurants and the Nobu hotel brand, which has properties in six locations around the world.
De Niro will not be developing the Barbuda project under the Nobu brand; it will be developed under the “Paradise Found” brand, according to Browne.
The move comes after the country’s government announced earlier this year plans to develop a new hotel and an improved airport on Antigua’s sister island.
“We expect this project to be one of the most exciting projects in the Caribbean,” Browne said.