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Price? All We Want Is To See Lucayan Sold

Grand Lucayan

Grand Lucayan

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

GRAND Bahama Chamber of Commerce president Greg Laroda believes that getting the Grand Lucayan resort sold is more important to Grand Bahamians than the proposed price tag of $150m.

“So, I think probably where most of us from Grand Bahama stand, while we are not saying the government should give the hotel away to anyone, I think the price that it would eventually sell for is not as important to us as it being sold,” he said yesterday.

 “We just want to see it done.”

 He also stressed that finding an operator who is willing to develop the property in the best interest of Grand Bahamians is critical.

 Mr Laroda’s comments were in response to questions by reporters about the $150m figure the government wants to sell the hotel property for in Lucaya.

 On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation, said the government believes that it is an attractive proposition. He said the resort is on 2,500 acres of prime beachfront property and has a golf course and a marina site.

 At least six investors to date have expressed interest in purchasing the property, according to Mr Cooper.

 Mr Laroda said Grand Bahamians just want the property sold.

 “As it relates to the hotel property that is something… ever since it closed, we have been looking forward to a sale and new buyers through this process where the government bought the hotel in the interim or to try to speed up the process. Of course, some things happened along the way with (Hurricane) Dorian with the pandemic that probably caused us to be where we are today.”

The Minnis administration purchased the Grand Lucayan resort for $60m. The former government signed a Heads of Agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and ITM Group to purchase and redevelop the resort and Freeport Harbour.

 However, that deal was cancelled recently.

 While in Grand Bahama last week, Mr Cooper said the sale of the hotel is a priority of the Davis administration, which is working to get it sold as quickly as possible. He noted that $150m had been invested in the property through government subsidy to maintain the hotel.

 Mr Laroda said: “I would not want to focus on or get into a discussion on whether I think the government is getting a good deal or not getting a good deal.

 “I just want us to see an operator take over the hotel in terms of ownership who can redevelop the property and get it to the level where we need it to be and to grow the tourism (industry) on the island.

 “We are trying to grow tourism, but there is a challenge now for where they can stay. So, we just need to see it sold and redeveloped - that is more our focus. And I am looking forward to some positive announcements in the next four to six weeks,” he said.

 “I would like to see it where it is developed in our best interest. That is more important to me than a few million dollars here or there in the overall selling price, once we get the best deal for the Bahamian people.”

 Senator Quinton Lightbourne, chairman of the Bahamas Development Bank, who paid a courtesy call to Mr Laroda at the Chamber of Commerce also commented: “What I would say is that discussions and actions so far are moving toward the best way to resolve the situation,” he said.

 “I think it is the most prudent way, and I would say, in the next month, further details would be given or outlined in terms of the way moving forward.”

Comments

tribanon 2 days, 16 hours ago

And just think, it's not at all beyond Davis and Cooper to engineer a secretive 'give-away' deal to the 'right' buyer or hotel operator for the 'right' kind of quid pro quo. Truly scary!

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stillwaters 2 days, 16 hours ago

And once again we await some foreigner to buy the hotel and provide jobs for some of us. The same foreigner that will get called names, will be looked at as an opportunist, and will eventually have to fight a union who will by then think the hotel is suddenly theirs.After the dirt done to Sarkis.........I doubt that foreign investors are eager to do this.

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tribanon 2 days, 15 hours ago

Your great love for the hideous likes of Royal Caribbean, Hutchison Whampoa and the owners of the GBPA is well known.

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TalRussell 2 days, 13 hours ago

So, I think probably where most of de popoulaces residing from outside Freeport stand, being how Freeporters' stuck with polices of Minnis, KP and Kwasi, right up to very end they governance demise, so are saying de new government, should just give De Grand Lucayan Hotel away for free to Freeporters' for whatever is they eventually** use or sell it and everything else like this and that by focusing more on de Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma and Andros out islands, ― Yes?

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Economist 2 days, 12 hours ago

Freeport needs the hotel sold to an owner who has a business plan that will benefit Grand Bahama's economy.

The RCCL deal clearly failed to do anything other than to provide some low paid jobs.

A hotel who's guests have money to play golf etc. will usually spend money eating out at some of the local restaurants. They will also shop for more than souvenirs.

Price aside, this government is definitely on the right track.

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TalRussell 2 days, 12 hours ago

@ComradeEconomist, what's with de continuation of flirting with Grammy's style tourisms' reliance on grand/big is where de future focus on tourism is still de true way rebound's during journey over to de other side of Corvid's futures?
De visions of Sir Stafford Lofthouse Sands, Wallace Groves and de Hawksbill Creek Agreement are long deaded, ― Yes?

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TimesUp 2 days, 12 hours ago

The hotel was at 5% occupancy for years back when we had an airport and before the marketplace started falling apart and going the way of the Bazaar. Why would a hotelier spend 150 million on this property? If someone wanted to buy it then why didn't they purchase it from Hutchison themselves?

Its a crumbling 2.5 star hotel that is long outdated. Good investments don't need you to force them! Investors will seek out a good deal long before some government minister thinks of it.

I feel the statement to sell it for 150 million was purely aimed at Nassau to give the impression that Freeport is being well taken care of. Anyone from Freeport knows we would probably have to actually pay someone to take over such a disaster.

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TigerB 2 days, 10 hours ago

My take is it will need the airport to compliment it, other than that it will fail standing by itself.

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