Opinion: Tucker’s Point Is “Developer’s Mistake”

March 11, 2011

Tuckers-Point-Rosewood-Walk-Bermuda[Written by Larry Burchall] I’m glad I went on the “SDO” walk around the Tucker’s Point project. I saw and learned a lot and came to a surprising conclusion.

I was curious about the whole development because for some years, I had seen the advertising for those beautiful units up on Ships Hill. I confess that my Bermudian heart hankered after them but my Bermudian wallet and asset base looked unlikely to satisfy my hanker. So I just looked and hankered.

Now I’ve seen the whole shebang. More correctly, I’ve seen what’s been built and completed so far. My hanker level is a whole lot lower, my eyebrows are a whole lot higher, and my sense of wonder is sky-high.

My epiphany came when I stood at the base of the hill on Castle Harbour side, my back to the water, and my eyes looking up the hill. I saw massed concrete, walls, windows, and railings. To my mind’s eye it looked like a beehive. But this was a beehive with each of the hive cells selling, I understand, for some huge dollar figure. Superimposed on all this was a bigger concrete blob said to be ‘the hotel’.

The ocean at my back reminded me that this was Bermuda. That caused another epiphany.

I thought that anyone who had the moolah to buy a beehive would also have the moolah to want to take advantage of the amenity offered by our turquoise waters; and would want – and could afford – decent sized boat. Something at least 30 feet or so. That person would expect to walk out of his beehive and onto his (or her) boat; turn a key, and zoom off into the Atlantic.

But that couldn’t happen. For a 30 footer, the only way in and out of Castle Harbour is through dangerous Castle Roads which means threading through a narrow and treacherous reef barrier. It also means that this reef passaging is only possible in ideal weather conditions.

The beehive effect coupled with the inaccessibility of the ocean meant, to me, that the only amenity was the golf facility and access to the rest of us lot in Bermuda.

Did I still hanker for a unit in the development? Not anymore. That beehive effect coupled with the inaccessibility of the ocean made that hanker vanish – fast. Damn fast.

Walking on but still thinking, I realized that up to that day, I had only seen the overall Tucker’s Point development as that array of detached houses shown in the glossy ads. Now that I had seen the whole shebang, I realized that the Tucker’s Point development was much bigger than I had thought, and also contained much that – to me – was unattractive bordering on downright “ohgly”. Apart from a golf course, there was a clear lack of other amenities of the sort that reasonable millionaires might reasonably expect.

I was disappointed in what I saw. For me – Tucker’s Point lost its attractiveness.

Given that Tucker’s Point has had difficulty selling the units that it has already completed, I am not now surprised. I suspect that many others, their pockets far more loaded than mine, have made the same observations that I have made, have come to the same conclusions as I, and like me, have obviously walked away with their money still in their pockets.

Tuckers’s Point, as a set of detached houses may have had the potential for financial success. However Tucker’s Point as beehives plus hotel plus detached mansions plus golf course but without boats and yachts simply does not work. If it had worked, it would have attracted hundreds of buyers.

Tucker’s Point as I saw it on Sunday, and as I think about it now, is a developer’s mistake. An expensive mistake. For me, it is a fine five star concept executed at a sad three star level.

There is no point in pouring more money into it. There is certainly no point in giving it more scarce land.

Cut Tucker’s Point loose. Let it go to the wall. At a much lower price, another buyer will pick up the whole shebang, and sell off those units, with their low amenities, at a price more suited to their real ambience. Then, and only then, will Tucker’s Point work.

Allowing them to build more beehives in an already failed development is like investing another $100,000,000 with Bernie Madoff – after he gets out of jail.

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Category: All, Environment

Comments (17)

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  1. Derek says:

    Well said Mr Burchall!

    • Cleancut says:

      Yes! Well said Mr.Burchall, and Bermuda as a whole.

  2. My two cents says:

    Thanks for telling it straight Larry. Those that have educated ourselves know why Tucker’s truly failed!!! The audacity of government to even consider this SDO is just ignorance at its finest. The tourism stuff is nothing but bs. Tuckers should have sold over a year ago, they knew things weren’t good then. Why are we awarding bad business behavior??? Why are we giving 2 million year old land, the LAST PARCEL of it to bail out a bad business venture??? Total and complete madness and nonsense.
    I notice the UBP and BDA have gone quiet on why they support this. I would LOVE to know which members of government invested personally in this, I think it would say a lot!

    • Rockfish#2 says:

      Ditto! Reliable sources have it that several high profile Bermudians have invested in Tuckers Point and are pressuring Government to rescue them. Perhaps these persons names should be revealed. After all, it is the taxpayers money they are asking for.

      • 32n64w says:

        “After all, it is the taxpayers money they are asking for”

        I think its more accurate to say taxpayer concessions … unless you are referring to the likely duty exemptions which will almost certainly be provided in which case you may be right.

  3. Hmmmmm says:

    Larry, good piece. Why is my government so afraid to tell certain people they have failed? This SDO represents a rescue job for Tucker’s Point and their investors, and a windfall to protect HSBC’s bad loans. To prove just how ill-informed and out of their depth the government is on these things, the news of the restrictive covenant and MidOcean Club’s ability to block the development as planned caught them by total surprise. That is scary. In 2011, a failed group of business men can still walk into the Cabinet Office and tell this pro-business labour government their troubles and my government will happily take the licks that should be theirs. I thought 1998 was about the end of the Bank of Bermuda and the likes of Ed Trippe calling the shots. Nothing seems to have changed. And the “saving tourism” argument is nonsense. Stop doing and undoing everything Ewart did and pay attention: air fares are now going up to what they used to be; 2013 Games in trouble because of expensive hotel rooms, no plan except a media buyer for marketing Bermuda……Patrice and Terry need to work like their predecessor did and sort these things out because that’s what will save tourism.

    • Cleancut says:

      Yes i believe you are right Hmmmmm. This Government needs to get in Bed with HSBC,They have a Bank on every street corner throughout the world. Bad loans is Just Comedy for this takeover Empire.

  4. Bizarre Angle says:

    At first I though it was a good article but then I thought about it some more. Why would you be so negative about a resort in Bermuda? I’m not supporting another SDO or more expansion as I think Tucker’s should be left to go into bankruptcy and someone can buy it at a fraction of the cost and make it a worthwhile profitable business.

    What I don’t support is someone like yourself saying Tucker’s is ugly and everyone needs to have a yacht to buy there. That’s blatantly not true – many people feel it is a top class place but too costly and the service sucks.

    I think you are looking at this situation in a completely wrong way. You should be encouraging tourists and business travelers to come here. Tucker’s may not be perfect but it’s the only real hotel we have that could, if managed correctly, market to the right tourists and be profitable again (without any further development or SDOs).

    • Rockfish#2 says:

      Maybe you should share your marketing views with the relevant persons, before it is too late. However, it is unlikely that anything will change though.

    • My two cents says:

      He wasn’t saying the hotel part was ugly, cause it isn’t. He was saying why the REAL ESTATE portion didn’t work. If priced right, I think the hotel COULD be successful. Bring in some entertainment for your visitors, make the woodland they want to clear for housing a quaint nice park like place for your tourists to hike on:)

  5. You heard it hear first says:

    There is a rumour going around that the Government has guaranteed $100m to HSBC in respect of their Tuckers Point debt. I just hope this is not true.

  6. Build Build Build says:

    Great article Mr.Burchall ,seems like they just wanna build to create construction jobs at any price.

  7. Sign the petition says:

    If there are so many against this SDO then please sing the petition against it.


  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    Great article as usual LB.

    This SDO is nothing more than a thinly disguised bailout. Rumour has it that a number of PLP people stand to lose if the SDO does not carry through & TP folds. Too often rumours involving the shenanigans of the PLP turn out to be fact.

    Larry has a good point on talking about members boat owning possibilities. Castle Harbour alone is a pretty small puddle to play in. There is NO getting under Longbird Bridge, & won’t be anytime soon never mind the promises since 2004. Longbird bridge will be there till it falls down. There is no going to St George for fuel or shopping without going around the reefstrewn St Davids Head.

    A dock at the airport has been promised for decades so that passengers could be shuttled across Castle Harbour to Mid Ocean, Tuckers Point & even points far west like Cambridge Beaches & Southampton Fairmont rather than use clogged roads. A much nicer way to arrive & depart Bermuda IMO. Just another piece of the puzzle promised that has gone missing.

  9. I wonder says:

    I wonder how many of the politricians in charge have taken that same walk that concerned residents experienced last Sunday… if they have and they can still sleep at night thinking of the loss… then the country is truly lost.

    Take it over, make it a national park for all to enjoy, and effectively market it for ecotourism to bird watchers, those interested in caves, and other naturalists…Costa Rica is just one place that attracts ecotourists and manages very well