Government confident in sale
By Alexander Britell
NASSAU — Could the Baha Mar soon have a new owner?
Potential buyers have begun to emerge for the stalled megaresort project, which had been slated to open in late 2014 but shuttered and declared bankruptcy and is now in the hands of the state-owned lender China EXIM Bank.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Nassau, Bahamas Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu told reporters that there were several interested parties “who have expressed an interest in purchasing Baha Mar.”
“It tells us that it’s a project and a product that people are interested in,” she said. “As one potential party said to me, ‘everything’s in place. It’s 97 percent completed, all the approvals are in place, it’s just ready to go. And this is something that is very attractive.”
Jibrilu said the government had already met with five or six interest parties who have gone through the and been introduced to the government, although she did not reveal any of the potential buyers by name.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has given his assurance that finding an owner is the “highest priority item” for the government.
“This enormous project, with far reaching potential, is front and centre on my government’s list of top priorities,” Christie told the opening of the CHTA Marketplace conference. “Many are depending on a positive resolution to the Baha Mar dilemma: the key partners of this initiative; the 2,000 workers waiting to resume their jobs on the Cable Beach Riviera, and the countless numbers of prospective visitors anticipating a dream vacation at this luxury seaside resort.”
The project is slated to include four hotels, including a Baha Mar-branded flagship hotel, a Grand Hyatt, an SLS and a Rosewood hotel, totaling 2,200 rooms, although Rosewood is seeking to exit the project.
“Not for one second have I ever doubted that Baha Mar will open its doors,” Christie said. “Why am I so confident? Because wherever there is a will and a duty bound commitment, there is a way. And every effort is being made by the Government working with the stakeholders to achieve remobilization, completion and opening of the Resort as soon as possible during the course of this year. Major investors, hotel and casino operators are engaged with the relevant parties to achieve this desired objective.”
The property also includes a Jack Nicklaus golf course.
Jibrliu also said the resort’s conference center would be opening in March, with a major Inter-American Development Bank conference slated to take place.