OBA: Grand Atlantic ‘Poorly Conceived Project’

October 10, 2012

[Updated] “The fact that just one of 51 units of the Grand Atlantic housing project has sold is the strongest sign yet that this was a poorly conceived project,” said Senator Michael Fahy, the Shadow Minister responsible for housing.

As Bernews reported last week, the Public Works Ministry confirmed that one Grand Atlantic Condo has sold.

In March 2012, Public Works Minister Michael Weeks announced that 100% financing for the units will be offered to qualified first-time home purchasers, and said that five people had been approved by the bank to purchase.

Senator Fahy said: “Driven by the Government’s 2007 election agenda instead of market realities, and built in the midst of a housing glut, it is threatening to become a White Elephant. The project’s failure to sell tells us that people cannot afford the Government’s version of affordable housing.

“What people really need, and what we’ve proposed before, is the construction of a purpose-built facility for people who have nothing. This is the gap in the market that must be met. If Government is going to get into the housing business, its plan must be driven by people’s needs, not its political needs,”: concluded Senator Fahy.

Update: To clarify as there has been some confusion about it, at the previous press conference on the matter Minister Weeks did not say five units had sold, he said five persons “had been approved to purchase units.” The link to the story from that time is here, and the video of the press conference in question held in May is below:

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Comments (58)

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  1. Amazed says:

    So he thinks that the only gap in the market was people who have nothing? He is way out of touch with reality!The cost of housing for all sectors had skyrocketed out of the reach of ordinary citizens and was unsustainable!

    • swing voter says:

      Maybe everyone heard that the one time might UBP/OBA had a better plan for them. That same plan that discriminated against the black race. The only plan that the UBP/OBA has is to keep blacks vs blacks, thus the need to front blacks in a 90% majority white party. Black Bermudians are the swing voters/flip floppers and don’t you … forget it.

      • Purple says:

        Think with your brain and not with your skin

        • Swing voter #1451 says:

          Funny the UBP didn’t think like that……that’s why the blacks have this bitter attitude toward that party and the same people that merged to form the OBA. I was going to vote for the Bermuda Democratic Alliance (BDA)

          I really wish they wouldn’t have merged. They didn’t need that bad smell of cow feces to follow.

          • Bermuda Love says:

            You are very confused. Don’t let ur skin to speak for u. Please try that thing between your ears. I’m so tired of hearing this bullcrap. It really is so sad that you allow your Mind be held captive. Hmmmm

            • Real Talk says:

              Swing voter every black Bermudian knows why the whites place black puppets in the OBA, they have no other choice then let slaves fight slaves.

              • PLOP says:

                Racist ! Bermudians have had enough of race baiting. You are killing the island for yourself.

    • PLOP says:

      Bottom line…..this project was another EPIC FAILURE by the PLP, it cost everyone on the island MILLIONS of dollars, because we dont have dollars, this money was borrowed and will continue to cost us dollars for many years.

  2. Building for the PLP says:

    I thought the saying ‘if you build it they would come’ was true but in this case HELL TO THE NO! Only 1 but than again, I guess this one person said they’ll be a leader and not a follower lol.

    I really wonder how this person feels now being the only ying yang to support the PLP’s scheme.

    For their sake, I hope another Fabian does not happen this year cause they’ll be out to sea all alone lol.

  3. Joonya says:

    The sad thing is that this government will still have zombies voting for them even after they have wasted millions of their tax dollar, and put their future’s at risk, and added to an already massive debt. But when people only see things thru a “what can I get for free” set of glasses they will not take the time to learn the real risks, and how drastically they themselves will be affected by bad decisions on those risks, and by the very people they put in power. Please people, learn about ALL the variables at play before you tick a box during the next election, and take black and white out of the exercise, please!

  4. Patchy says:

    Nice chain link fence!!

    • SMH says:

      The Desert Sandy landsacape of a Front Lawn is even More Enticing. #NOT

      The PLP Government needs to stop blaming the economic turn down for their bad decision making abilities.

  5. Only sold one? says:

    In June the Minister said they’d sold five and were screening fifteen people for approval.

    • Moojun says:

      No, The Minister actually said that 5 people had been approved to buy, he never said that the sales had been completed. I guess 4 of those 5 later found better deals elsewhere in the private market.

      • Stop Lying says:

        Exactly, I’m guessing this is just another OBA lie to go with the rest.. Do you people ever get sick of lying.

        • Come Correct says:

          What about the plp? Please say they don’t lie…please.

      • Only sold one? says:

        No – his statement to the press was that five units have been sold and 15 people are being screened for approval.

        *Link Removed As Its Inaccurate*

    • Stop Lying says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but please prove that the Minister said 5 were sold! Only you OBA people make things up.

      • Building for the PLP says:

        It was said… go research on Bernews! I don’t have the time to look myself, I am laughing to much at the comments lol

        • Come Correct says:

          “To date 5 persons have been approved by the banks to purchase a Grand Atlantic condo, and 15 additional people are being screened by the Bank of Butterfield for approval, Public Works Minister Michael Weeks said today [May 29].”

          I wouldn’t accuse you of purposely lying, maybe just not double checking the fact, but I guess some people feel the need to back their party even if it means calling the kettle black.

          • Accuracy? says:

            Five approved and only one buys? That says even more about the qualities of this development. Sad to see this happen but our government weren’t the only ones to build and watch sit empty – plenty of ‘smart businessmen’ in the same boat.
            Of course we don’t have to pay for their mistakes!

    • Y-Gurl says:

      Maybe 14 of the 15 were not working

    • Billy de Kidd says:

      correction – watch the tape
      approved does not translate to sold


  6. swing voter says:

    OBA will have a field day highlighting all of the failures of government policies and projects that even the kool-aid victims will snap out of the polictical daze and see things clearly…..Paula had better bring some Arab business back with her….

  7. Vote for Me says:

    On the face of it, the Grand Atlantic Development seems to be a giant lemon for the PLP.

    What is one of the best things about lemons? They make great lemondade!! The simple solution (which can also be the political solution) is to simply drop the prices to a level at which the units will be bought by average Bermudians. Many will complain that government wasted money but that is the consistent complaint anyway. Therefore the government should cut its losses and sell the units for current and realistic market prices.

    Many say we do not need any more houses but tell that to the many families that ars split all over the island due to a lack of affordable housing. One immediate benefit from selling is the pride that is well known to be instilled in home owners.

    Another option is to rent to buy on a geared to income basis (baased on 25% of income). Persons eligible would be the ‘best BHC tenants’ or those who have been consistent in paying their rent in the past. We are also mindful of the dockyard tenants that may want to relocate.

    The unfortunate and enduring ‘lemon’ solution is to wait for the market to improve and then sell the units. By that time interest payments would have been incurred and the units would deteriorate from a lack of use.

    It is oft said that the only thing worse than making mistakes is to not learn from the mistakes… my money is on the decision to get the units occupied – whatever it takes…

    • Accuracy? says:

      Now this is a good idea! Perhaps the most sensible comment so far!

  8. Stop Lying says:

    Why is Fahy saying this was part of the 2007 election campaign? These things weren’t announced until 2009. Is this all the OBA does, lie everyday?

    3000 Bermudians out of work: LIE
    Support EEZ Grants: LIE
    Won’t cut seniors from future care: LIE
    GEHI cut off for Civil Servants: LIE

    We need a movie, lies and the liars who tell them… Starring Crag, Bob, Dunks and Fahy.

    Paula call the election so we can silence these lot!

    • ? says:

      You ever have to sacrifice for the better of your family?

      Doesn’t sound like it.

      Is government paying your bills?

      Sounds like it…

    • Joonya says:

      It doesnt matter who you think is lying mate, the bottom line fact is ur PLP F*cked up huge! End of story.

    • theothersidebda says:

      The reference to the 2007 campaign promise of building more affordable homes, not specifically to the building of these particular affordable homes. The point was that instead of recognizing market realities, the PLP, in their effort to simply ‘tick the box’ on one of their campaign promises, unwisely plowed ahead with a project that made absolutely no sense in light of the facts. They missed the mark simply to complete their agenda.

      • These are not low income housing or more affordable housing. They have just been built to LOOK like low income housing.

    • Stuart Hayward says:

      Actually, the Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences Special Development Order [SDO] was debated and passed in Parliament in 2007, June I think.

  9. Jim Christopher says:

    Good for Senator Fahy to keep putting these boondoggles up to public scrutiny!

  10. Dre says:

    Reality is that the affordable housing is still not affordable. I would love to buy one for my family, but the reality is that I can afford no more that $2500 a month for mortgage (My rent is currently $2000). If they want it to be truly affordable for average Bermudians, the units should be price so that the mortgage works out to be around $2500. Only then will the units be sold. No average Bermudian can afford $3000 and $4000 plus mortgage.

    I think it was an excellent idea, but the units aren’t priced realistically.

    • bermyluv says:

      Not being able to afford a mortgage of $2500 means absolutely not being prepared for the realities of the Bermuda marketplace. Preparing to own a home doesn’t begin on the day you decide that you want or should own one. It begins with your education and understanding that education is the currency for advancement. Whether it is academic, technical, or practical, you can’t settle for a less than average education, and then expect to live an above average life.

      Pay attention young people of Bermuda!!!

      • Joonya says:

        Yup, and it also means save save save well before you decide to jump in, and also means you gotta sacrifice those 2-3 shopping trips a year Stateside, and stop wasting money on expensive cars with expensive wheels and stereos.

      • Accuracy? says:

        Oh my this is a little elitist what?
        Think carefully about who picks up your garbage and washes your restaurant dishes before you decide who’s fault it is that some can’t afford a ‘real’ mortgage. And below ‘average’ has to mean never owning a home?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      The problem with most Bermudians is not the high cost of living. It is the cost of living high.

      It is the new phone every year with the latest & greatest features that have nothing to do with it being a phone. It is the paying for the unlimited eveerything to go with that phone.

      It is the new car every 4 or 5 years plus the wheels, guess the stock ones arn’t round, plus the performance tires, to do 30mph, plus the loudest most earth shaking sound, to keep up with the freinds.

      It is the exotic trips to far away places & staying at onlly the best accomodations so that one can come home & brag about it. Then there are those weekend shopping trips or sporting trips.

      Got to have the designer clothes & shoes you know plus all the bling.

      Then there are the fancy partys where one has to outdo the other.

      All of this stuff is much more important than paying off a mortgage & certainly cannot be sacrificed to pay a mortgage.

  11. Y-Gurl says:

    OK I need to get in here, this project was ajoke from the start, trashing parkland to build houses that we dont need, at the time they were building the “projects” houses and appartments were flooding the market as people left Bermuda and Bermudian landlords were having a tough time renting their proerty. That was the time to stop building, take stock and come to a sensible balance…but that cannot be expected from a party that is not focused on Bermuda.

    I like most people are assuming the deal had been done and everyone paid up front so it had to go to completion, its a shame that we cant go back from here, and the kicker is the “affordable” housing is in some cases more expensive than comprable houses on the open market.

    So who pays for the maintenance, taxes, power etc while they sit empty for the next few years or until Goverment decidide to rent them out to needy families. We will never get full disclosure on this backroom deal so we dont know what they cost, who got paid, or what the expected payback period may be beore they come into a less than desirable condition, no one wants to live in the “projects”

    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Y_Gurl
      What do you propose as a solution?
      Fact – the units are built
      Fact – Lopes has been paid for the units (or will be paid since govet agreed to buy the units from him)
      Fact – leaving the units vacant is impractical since they will deteriorate faster
      Fact – it is easier to complain anc criticise rather than offer solutions

      • Come Correct says:

        BEST tod them to suspend construction ages ago, like you said, they’re already built and more to come. So its clear the government doesn’t take solutions, its their idea and teyre going through with it no matter what, that been their MO from jump.

        • Vote for Me says:

          @ Come Correct
          It is fascinating that Lopes is going to build more and sell them directly to buyers. Lopes must know something that no one else knows!!

          • Come Correct says:

            Lopes can actually afford to have them sit up until the economy rebounds, not that its a good idea, or maybe it is. He’ll probably also sell them at a realistic price too and sell more than the government has. We’ll have to wait and see.

            • Verbal Kint says:

              So what kind of deal does Lopes have for the land? How does that work?

      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        fact – the units are built
        fact – the units empty and have been for months
        fact – the units are unwanted by anybody at the price set by the government, despite Weeks telling us in June that over 100 people expressed interest.
        fact – there are thousands of empty apartments on the island, as a result of the reduction in population
        fact – the government therefore spent money, against all advice at the time, to build apartments that weren’t needed, and which aren’t wanted.
        fact – we don’t know who got rich out of this but also a Fact – none of us would be surprised if some of the money made found its way to The Vineyard.
        fact – a way will probably be found to get occupants in the units, as they are now a major embarrassment to the government
        fact – we will never know how much money was wasted on this stupid and ridiculous project

      • Y-Gurl says:

        @vote for me. What Do I propose as a solution? Simply to expose the Government corruption in the hopes that this spending madness ends, you could always support the PLP and buy one of the “projects”

  12. 3-cents says:

    PLP – Standing Strong….on crutches!

    • Black Bermudian swing voter says:

      We may be on crutches but the OBA is in a wheel chair….

  13. welldone says:

    I think when the project was begun it was a good one. However the economy changed, housing prices came down and we are where we are.
    I will say that I think the PLP has done a great job with providing housing (both for rent and purchase) and yes this project may have fallen victim to circumstances, but it doesn’t negate the success stories – Loughlands, PerimeterLane and Harbourview Village.

  14. Opressed says:

    Bottom line is this. Even if these slums were well constructed, and at a reasonable mortgage rate, the location, maintenance wise is a killer. The fact that these were poorly designed and constructed adds to maintenance costs. This has to factor in when making a building purchase.

    So, lets say someone in the lower income bracket purchases one of these “houses” with a mortgage rate of $2000 per month. Do you, in all sincerity believe they will be able to maintain the structure? The salt content of the air is constant and the ground is unstable. This is bound to be the biggest slum we’ve ever created.

    The dreamers will have you believe that a hotel will be built in between these slums and the monolithic gas station. Tell me, would you spend $300 a night to be sandwiched between the two?

    Best case scenario, sad but true, knock them down. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but these places will only turn into a haven for the destitute drug addicts and the criminal element. The Government will have egg on their faces for a couple of days, then “this too shall pass”, and they can move on to the next fiasco.

  15. HeyBye says:

    This disaster of South Shore is one of many other ill concieved “Projects” contributing to the BERMUDA MADE recession.

  16. IQ says:

    There is no doubt that poor money management has negatiely affected our economy, however if the government did not build houses we would all be at the mercy of the private sector which is profit driven. We all witnessed a certain realator announcing the cost of an average 3 bedroom at well over a million dollars. A price most average people could not afford. Yes we now have a glut of condos but i do not feel any sympathy for those who gambled on the housing market and lost. Whenever you gamble you are accepting the risk that you might loose.

    • Verbal Kint says:

      When developers speculate and fail, they lose their own money. When Government speculates and fail, they lose YOUR money. They speculated with your money, and now Gilbert Lopes has your money. Simple as that.

      • HeyBye says:

        Spot on. Gov is gambling with our money and they are Poor gamblers.
        So Bda has to make up for the loss with borrowing and that in turn is costing us on a daily bases with interest payments upon interest payments never mind the principal.
        Gov needs to stay out of the housing and all other businesses as a rule gov interference in the markets is detrimental to all.

  17. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    what is all the bickering back n forth about nothing….since NONE of you bermudians have uttered any type of solution to the matter ….release the people who have already purchased give them back ALL of their monies ….then we can forget about outside investments forget about the 3 hotels all planned n promised coz its destined for doom…take this property and landscape it beautifully and turn it into tourist accomodations….coz we shall soon be getting an influx of German or European tourists ..RIGHT? All im sayin is to stop the plp oba ubp bullcrap…it is all a distractionary tactic used by the stringers…if you get my drift…you all are barking up the wrong tree….paula is recieveing her executive orders now from some of the most POWERFUL MEN on this earth ….FINANCIAL ICONs….owners of THE WORLDS WEALTH…get ready for what comes next.

  18. Jonathan Baxter says:

    On another note, there are others to whom have leasehold ownerships with the Government. In point, ” Convict Bay Condo’s. They have purchased at current rates that exceed the selling prices of Atlantic with freehold ownership which means you can leave it to your Bermudian Children. We are not so lucky, we have less than 100 years of lease left to when we must abandon at a cost of $90,000.00 per year or close to 9 million for the extent of the lease. Simply put that is about $180,000.00 in lease fees from each of the current owners.
    We can only feel screwed over by this current Government as we have not been allowed to be “equal” with their current housing programme.
    Obviously, they are confident our 50+ votes in the next election is of no concern as our investment in Home Ownership has reached fecal status.

  19. swingingfrom the chandeliers!! says:

    the units are hideous, the south shore in now inundated with cement where there was greenery….hahahahha who thought the ride was everlasting? who didn’t check with actuaries.pyschics,tarrot readers ect..to find out what the boom was really about?Who now has egg on their face from quickly responding r,ther than investigating, researchg. referendum? the payoff must have been worth it for the people that made this decision because it certainly wasn’t thought out enough especially when Bermudians are not used to condo living and why should we when we have limited space…A$$Oles