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Homeowners: Treasure Cay value down by half

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

Homeowners yesterday asserted that Abaco’s Treasure Cay resort has lost at least close to half its value since it was first placed on the market for sale at around $57m one decade ago. 

Eric Bethel, property owner and an amenities board member, and the development’s former head of security, told Tribune Business a higher offer had been made to the Meister family than the $22.325m bid put forward by Austrian investor, Dr Mirko Kovats. Government approval for the latter’s purchase was rejected by the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) in June, although he was said to be making a fresh approach last month.

“There are homeowners inside Treasure Cay that are ready to buy the resort now and will come in at a higher price than Dr Kovats gave. I just don’t know why the Meisters are stalling on the other offer,” Mr Bethel argued.

While other media reported the price at $22.325m, sources within the Treasure Cay community said Dr Kovats’ total bid was $31.5m to acquire all the Meister family’s property. This, they said, represents a steep drop from the original $57m sought for Treasure Cay some 10 years ago. The counter offer made by residents is understood to be $32.5m. 

Mr Bethel added: “Well, the Meisters only own part of Treasure Cay, which is the golf course, the marina and the common area, and the homeowners own the rest. I don’t know about this $22m. Treasure Cay was selling for $57m some ten years ago, but every time the father (Ludwig Meister) got close to finalising the sale, he wanted to put something else on the table and it never went anywhere. So now they went from $57m to $31.5m, and they are still having trouble selling the property.” 

Craig Roberts, a hotelier on Abaco, who is leading a group of residents in a counter-offer to buy the Treasure Cay resort, said: “We’re just waiting to see. Dr Kovats from what I understand is threatening to sue everybody, so we just want to see what he does. 

“Treasure Cay desperately needs a new, experienced and well-capitalised developer to transform our tiny island community into a first-class and world-renowned resort destination. It’s certainly possible with the right leadership and team.” Efforts to contact Dr Kovats proved unsuccessful yesterday.

Tribune Business last month obtained a copy of a 13-page booklet, dated August 15, 2022, and entitled Towne Centre Master Plan for Treasure Cay. The renderings have been drafted by Charles J Nafie Architecture and Design, the same Naples, Florida, firm working on Dr Kovats’ Love Beach project.

Besides the 350-room hotel, and a beach club and restaurant, the proposal also features a 150-unit condo hotel; 60 luxury condo units; a parking facility; offices; retail; and other amenities associated with a mixed-use resort development.

Bill McLean, of Beach Villa Owners Association, in an August 22 e-mail to members, said: “I’ve attached a copy of a plan that has been submitted by Mr Kovats, the still-pending buyer of Treasure Cay Ltd, to the Prime Minister’s office, apparently to be formally presented this week.

“The centrepiece of the proposal is a 350-room hotel (eight floors?) on the beach at the location of the former Coco Beach Bar. To say that this would forever change the appearance and character of the beach, and of Treasure Cay, is an understatement. It is doubtful that Treasure Cay property owners will ever be given the opportunity for input, which government regulations appear to require.”

It was just six weeks earlier that Tribune Business reported Dr Kovats was planning to initiate legal action after the Government refused to approve his purchase.  A resident of Lyford Cay, Dr Kovats has also initiated litigation that, for the moment, has halted Albany’s acquisition of the adjacent South Ocean property in southwestern New Providence.

He is understood to be arguing that he has a binding purchase agreement with South Ocean’s Canadian pension fund owners that was signed before the latter agreed the Albany deal, and is still valid.

The financier has also attracted controversy in his native Austria throughout his business and investing career, despite building his publicly-listed industrial group, A-Tec Industries, into a conglomerate that once featured over 70 companies and more than 10,000 employees, with turnover pegged at more than one billion euros.

Numerous companies he was involved with early in his business career became insolvent, and Dr Kovats has faced numerous civil lawsuits during his business career, being criminally indicted twice. He was sentenced to six months’ probation in 2000 by the Vienna High Court over the bankruptcy of a nightclub he had invested in. Dr Kovats was also charged over another nightclub insolvency in 2007, although he was never convicted.

Comments

LastManStanding 4 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, I would think that it would lose most of it's value considering that Dorian destroyed practically everything in the community.

Kovats is a joker and I said from the beginning that it was a waste of time even entertaining someone who would not put down a performance bond. That being said, I don't think that selling Treasure Cay to a committee is a good idea either. Plenty of questions as to who is going to be in charge and where the money to develop it will come from. Treasure Cay is dead in the water at this point as far as I can see.

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Maximilianotto 4 months, 1 week ago

Treasure Cay will be stuck next 10 years so unsalable. Who will buy and have a legally uncontested agreement? Interesting case…

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DWW 4 months ago

funny, all these maneuverings and backroom meetings when there is no LUPAP as mandated by the subdivision bill 2010. the law clearly states that the OPM cant approve anything yet here we are still going this road which is now clearly illegal according to the 2010 law. But who am I?

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