The Grand Lucayan resort.
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By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE government signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Royal Caribbean International and the ITM Group for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort and redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour, signaling an impending turnaround for Grand Bahama’s beleaguered economy.
An initial investment of $195 million, which includes $65m for the purchase of the hotel, has been earmarked for the first phase of the development which will take place over a 24-month period. It is estimated that some 2,000 jobs would be created in the first phase.
With the redevelopment of the harbour, it is expected that an additional two million cruise passengers will be brought annually to the island.
The announcement of the hotel sale is one that many in Grand Bahama have been waiting for, more than two-and-a-half years since the resort sustained severe hurricane damage, forcing the closure of two-thirds of the property which significantly impacted the island's tourism sector.
At the signing held at the Office of the Prime Minister in Freeport, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson noted the resort attracted some 62 expressions of interest from local and global firms, and by February 14, 11 offer letters were received and evaluated by the board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings.
He said that on March 22, the board unanimously approved a resolution to recommend to Cabinet the sale of the 217-acre resort to RCI/ITM.
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