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NAD mulls RFP for airport hotel

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

and NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

Lynden Pindling International Airport's (LPIA) operator yesterday said the development of a 100-120 room hotel could be opened to all-comers via a Request for Proposal (RFP), after the initial developers elected not to "pursue" the project.

Vernice Walkine, Nassau Airport Development Company's (NAD) president and chief executive, told the Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise that construction of a small hotel at LPIA was one of several projects being explored.

"We haven't concluded a deal on that yet," she said. "It looks like we will be issuing an RFP on that. When I joined the company in 2010 there was already a developer who had been given a lease.

"For all kinds of reasons the deal has just been protracted. We have had so many expressions of interest from others, and we had put them on hold because we had this developer under lease. That lease and all of its terms have expired now, so we are going to issue an RFP to allow as many interested parties as possible to put a proposal to us."

Ms Walkine said the LPIA airport hotel would be between 100-120 rooms, and targeted at a mid-market price point. "Not a day goes by that we don't get asked by passengers why we don't have a hotel," she added, "because flights get delayed, flights get cancelled and people have to be bussed to resorts.

"It's not intended to be a resort, but it will be really be for the benefit of domestic and international travellers who need to spend one night. We have had the research done and we see that it could be very viable."

Tribune Business exclusively revealed plans for an airport hotel back in October 2011. The original developers were said to be the owners of the Atlantic Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, and were looking to construct the hotel on a three-acre site immediately to the south of Windsor Field Road, right between the two entrance and exit roundabouts for LPIA.

The project was anticipated to create between 100-150 full-time jobs, and the developers were aiming to construct a facility of 'four-star' standard, rather than the typical 'two-star' airport hotel, targeting the private aviation market and foreign directors of Bahamas-based companies who fly into LPIA for Board and other meetings.

George Allen, one of the principals in the original developer group, told Tribune Business they had elected not to pursue the LPIA 'airport hotel' because feasibility studies showed it could sustain only 50 rooms.

This was 50 per cent of the inventory eyed by NAD, and Mr Allen said the group had instead looked at developing a mixed-use proposal for the site involving a smaller hotel, offices, retail and restaurant. This, though, failed to match NAD's demands.

Mr Allen, though, did not rule out responding to an RFP should NAD issue one. "The feasibility was not that good," he said in explaining why the project was not pursued. "It can barely sustain 50 rooms based on the feasibility we did. We didn't pursue it.

"We were trying out restaurants, offices, shops, and they wanted a larger hotel there. That would have had to go to a chain that was willing to sacrifice and wait 10 years for it [investment returns] to happen."

Mr Allen said NAD was within its rights to invite multiple bids via an RDP, and added: "I wish them the best. We might come back in to answer the RFP.

"But it needs another economic to sustain the thrust of it... NAD really wants the hotel there. Perhaps someone will come in willing to take a chance and wait a bit longer."

Comments

TalRussell 6 years, 10 months ago

Comrades! On so many levels a Airport Hotel is so economically a bad idea,

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Socrates 6 years, 10 months ago

i think its a bad idea and doomed for failure.. if it goes ahead, i hope its private money otherwise public debt will just spiral more out of control..

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 10 months ago

This is one project that should be stopped dead in its tracks for too many obvious reasons! And why is Vernice Walkine still involved with NAD in any way?!!!

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 10 months ago

If you are expecting Atlantis or Melia, it will not work ........ If you are expecting Breezes, it may.

There may be a market for 50 rooms .......... at a ceiling rate of $50.00 per day ........ The customer base is transit passengers who may not be very happy about being there ...... the way Bahamasair and other flights face delays, overbookings etc., could keep the hotel in business

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Socrates 6 years, 10 months ago

at $50 per night, more likely to be a place for those secret liaisons....

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