‘Time For Bold Step On Waterfront Development’

January 28, 2013

[Updated with video] The development of Hamilton’s waterfront has been talked about for almost 20 years and it is time for a “bold step to overcome inertia,” Mayor of Hamilton Graeme Outerbridge said today [Jan 28].

“We have to find the courage to take that first step and then the next and the one after that. We must move forward and ensure this project is successful for those who are alive today and for the generations who will follow us. We are at the dawn of a new Hamilton,” Mayor Outerbridge said.

Concept images of the proposed development are below, click to enlarge:

“The start of the project will mean an injection of international capital into our economy, jobs will be created in the construction and other industries and it will attract new business and additional development in Bermuda.”

“There will be opportunities for new industries to flourish which will mean training and apprenticeship programs for our students and young people.

25-minute video of the press conference:

Mayor Outerbridge continued: “We are at the start of the process. No decisions have been made concerning what will be built.” In order to identify potential developers, the City said they invited companies to provide them with an RFP on the waterfront development, and they selected Allied Development Partners.

Major Outerbridge’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media. Thank you for being here this afternoon. I will read a statement which will be followed by statements from my colleagues here and then we will answer your questions.

This afternoon the City of Hamilton Council hosted a meeting at 12noon in the Earl Cameron Theatre. We invited various stakeholders to our information session where we shared with them the process of how we have gotten to where we are today.

During the meeting we introduced our consultant Varoujan Hagopian, the development partners, together with the gentlemen who are responsible for the financing of the project.

As we move forward, we will meet with the Bermuda Government. We will include many of the people who were at the meeting this afternoon. We will consult with the unions, environmental groups, the Hamilton business community and residents and workers. We will seek input from the general public.

The development of Hamilton’s waterfront has been talked about for almost 20 years, if not longer. We have started and stopped and started again. If Bermuda is to move forward and take its place on the world stage again, we must have a comprehensive way forward for our waterfront. We must make a bold step to overcome inertia. We can no longer just talk. It is time for action.

We have to find the courage to take that first step and then the next and the one after that. We must move forward and ensure this project is successful for those who are alive today and for the generations who will follow us. We are at the dawn of a new Hamilton. Together we will build a waterfront that glitters, shines and prospers over time.

As we look at the history of the Hamilton waterfront development, we must pay tribute to those who have held the torch in the past with a vision for the future of Hamilton.

These people have included:

  • Sir John Swan, former Premier of Bermuda
  • Hon. Paula Cox, former Premier of Bermuda and the Waterfront Development Committee
  • Sjur Lindberg
  • Cooper and Gardner
  • Entasis

Previous City of Hamilton boards under the leadership of the Mayors:

  • Lawson Mapp
  • Jay Bluck
  • Sutherland Madeiros
  • Charles Gosling

Before this board came to office, we were acutely aware that the waterfront was one of the first major issues we had to address, decisions had to be made and a way forward determined.

We made the decision to move ahead with the waterfront development based on the history of the project and to ensure the future financial sustainability of Hamilton.

The start of the project will mean an injection of international capital into our economy, jobs will be created in the construction and other industries and it will attract new business and additional development in Bermuda.

There will be opportunities for new industries to flourish which will mean training and apprenticeship programs for our students and young people.

We are at the start of the process. No decisions have been made concerning what will be built.

In order to identify potential developers, we invited companies to provide us with an RFP on the waterfront development. We have selected Allied Development Partners under the leadership of Mike Maclean and Alex DeCouto, as the City of Hamilton’s lead development team.

An Environmental Impact Study had been completed under the previous board, we revisited it and decided to submit it to the Planning Department for their review and approval in principle.

Mr. Varoujan Hagopian is the consultant who the council retained to provide support through the selection process and as we move forward.

I am pleased to introduce you to Varoujan Hagopian who will give an overview of Hamilton’s waterfront development and explain the process we undertook to get us to this point

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Comments (65)

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  1. Mad Dawg says:

    The only little problem with this is the fact that Mr Outerbridge doesn’t have the faintest idea how any of this will be financed. Still, the pictures are colourful and pretty. That’s nice.

    • windwater says:

      I would like to see what budget this is coming from.

    • Y-Gurl says:

      Unfortunately Outerbridge doesn’t have the faintest idea about most things and the scale of this thing is massive

    • Tooth Fairy says:

      Casino I believe is their only hope…build it and “they” will come!

  2. Zip says:

    “No decisions have been made concerning what will be built.”

    “An Environmental Impact Study had been completed under the previous board, we revisited it and decided to submit it to the Planning Department for their review and approval in principle.”

    How was an EIS completed without knowing what will be built? How do they expect approval in principal for something they don’t even know will look like? Sounds like a sham to me.

    • sooooo says:

      And how do you produce an RFP and select a developer without knowing what the development is…

  3. Y-Gurl says:

    Is this being driven by John Swans propery value going up if the docks move, sure not sure how the Cof H are going to
    Get that much revenue out of it and anyway they can’t take care of what they are responsible for today so why add to the unmanageable “load” look at the mess the City is in and who’s “running” it

    I view this whole transaction with suspicion as it still smacks of the friends and family program and wonder if that much investment could be put to better use somewhere else in Bermuda thats not Front Street, after all the docks are working and have Been for a long time.

  4. RawOnion says:

    Although I am for a rejuvenation project for the city, it always helps the developer to tout that it will create jobs as their first pitch for getting thumbs up for the project. So far all I see is an idea and a picture but what about the financing and what exactly will be built? I also would hate for it to overshadow the charm that Front Street already has (no matter how boring the atmosphere is) and that it would keep within a scale that we do not regret 20 years later.

  5. Inspector Gadget says:

    What blows me is that this has been proposed YEARS ago by the PLP! But who came along and said no! no! no! The UBP and all of their powerful leaders. And who ever doesn’t know that this was proposed years ago and was shut down doesn’t know ANYTHING about this island and its politics!

    • Onelife says:

      Ok so why didn’t they build it the last 14?

    • blankman says:

      Gadget, only problem with your claim is that it was originally proposed long before the PLP came into power.

    • Bermy Gooner says:

      The development of the Hamilton waterfront has been proposed way before the PLP ever got into power. Back in the Sir John days from what I can remember. And yet nothing has happened. Hopefully that changes, but I doubt it.

  6. Ringmaster says:

    Mike Maclean? Oh yes the President of the company who is supposed to be developing the St Regis Hotel. He replaced Donal Smith who is the CoH man in charge of overseeing capital projects to avoid a conflict of interest. How nice and cosy. No doubt Dr Brown is also in the background. Good to see the new CoH board looking after the needy comprising those that voted them in. Blatant hyprocrites and just in it for the money.
    It will be another 20 years before anything is done anyway. There is no money.

  7. Lol says:

    With what money?

  8. Family Man says:

    Allied Development Partners

    A snow removal company?? Are you serious? That’s who you hired to develop Hamilton’s waterfront.

    Ooohhhh this is going to be good.

  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    Smh, when the financing is confirmed in place(which it is), and the Mayor did state international capital, I ask this to the doubters……..what will the next issue that you will create to discredit this project? You folk cannot even hide your bias even if you tried! If Sir zjohn was behind the project with BCM or D n J, you all would be fully behind it…..even if it didnt go out to tender! Hypocrites!

    • Mad Dawg says:

      Is the financing in place just like it was when the Park Hyatt financing was in place?

      How much, exactly? Who?

      This should be good.

    • longtail says:

      Retail is in trouble now while IB seems to be in a holding pattern…. why spend millions on this massive new development? Sounds like a PLP solution is planned here like that for housing – create more of something you cannot sell already! Is financing in place??? Like the financing for the Par-la-Ville Park Hyatt which is now nearing completion??? And how is this financing to be repaid??? Like the hospital – $600,000,000 or thereabouts that is ‘off the books’ (i.e. not even included in the $1.5b debt that we are already servicing)???? And what ships are going to use these berths… the huge new berth at dockyard is apparently already too small for the new generation of passenger ships!!! Sorry, but history makes one view these promises (read here ‘deceptions’) of greatness with much skepticism, especially when the city taxpayers in this instance have NO say in who is elected to COH or how their tax dollars are spent. Seems like the same old song all over again….

  10. RNA says:

    Gramme you are using the arguments that it will benefit all of us but really who will it benefit. It will mean more foreigners to do the construction, more foreigners to do the labor and menial tasks because you will be able to pay them nothing it will be great for the big bosses and it will be based upon the dream that someone will come and do business here because you built it…Well if they arent coming now what makes you think just by building it they will come?

  11. Hamiltonian says:

    Why does every waterfront project have to involve massive redevelopment? This is not the USA so lets stop trying to act like it is. Adding a series of huge new office & apartment buildings will do nothing to add any real character and charm to Hamilton, as proven by the majority of development in Hamilton over the past two decades.

    Our city could be absolutely transformed for relatively little expense just by catering to the needs of people and encouraging culture. Lets create a world-class boardwalk along our amazing waterfront and litter it with rides and attractions, al fresco dining, musical acts, small boat rentals, tours etc. Lets keep it tasteful with a strong retro style. Lets turn our waterfront car parks into public parks and art exhibits. Lets encourage small businesses to spill out onto the streets instead of taxing them back into holes in the wall by charging for their awnings and signs.

    Lets just have a little more vision than soul-less blocks of concrete, particularly when half the office space in town is empty and we really do not need more condos that most Bermudians will never be able to afford to live in.

    • here's a thought says:

      hear hear!! i like your thinking…. can you please run for mayor?????

    • Verbal Kint says:

      Well said.

    • Um Um Like says:

      Spot on, Hamiltonian! Sometimes less is more.

    • Tristan says:

      Hamiltonian – I agree with you 100%. What on earth has convinced these guys that a 1/2 billion will spell success?

      And by the way…………….does the coutries lifeline for commodity move out?

      Or do the Wharf and Container Port remain to be tastefuly melded into the waterfront?

      And how many decades transpire beforenwenget the land back?

      What? The guys putting up the money are doing so with nothing more than a fabulous return on their investment?
      Me thinks NOT.
      Mega Yachts?
      If we havent captured luxury cruising yachts thus far, what new idea is afoot that will change that?
      Cannot compete with the Carib or the Med.
      I think Hamiltonian has the right approach – I wish I could be optimistic but the likelihood seems fanciful at best.

    • itchy eyeballs says:

      Exactly! good commentary. Spend a minimum of money and make the waterfront a dynamic area for culture and relaxation and move the parking away from the shore. There is a glut of empty office space now so leave those building out of the plan.

      The cruise ships in that diagram are substantially smaller than they should look if drawn to scale, it should be noted.

      • itchy eyeballs says:

        Cruise ships at Heritage Wharf are 290m long. The gap between #1 Dock and Whites Island is 340m wide. Not much room for that 2-ship pier perpendicular to Front St in that part of the harbour really. Notice Whites Island is conveniently missing from the drawing…

  12. street wise says:

    Nice, clean, and tasteless. Too much, too fast. And very unBermudian in appearance. Slow down and do it right – for once!

  13. Really says:

    @ Hamiltonian couldn’t agree more… what makes people think this town can handle such mass overscaling development….disaster written all over it….

  14. here's a thought says:

    give me a break. seriously. this is THE MOST ridiculous thing i have ever seen. this mayor is nuts. this is about him not bermuda. redevelop the waterfront. please. front street is just fine the way it is. it’s authentic and real, not all dressed up trying to be some overseas planners idea of what we ‘need’.

    the corporation of hamilton suddenly has all kinds of money to pay foreign architects but they can’t afford to put up decent christmas decorations or even take down the crappy ones they DID put up? (this mayor supposedly tried to vote in PAYING the mayor as soon as he took office…it’s always been a volunteer position). this is the same group who just decided to create revenue for themselves by changing the parking times for the block outside the supermart in the name of ‘creating an emergency vehicle lane during rush hour’ (for ONE BLOCK – morons) – no thanks, mr mayor. keep your plans. and hopefully your term will be short so you can’t do too much other damage.

  15. Petra says:

    there is soooooo much wrong with this!

    1. The tender was a joke, they had already chosen the “developers” as they didn’t give enough time for anyone else to respond and how can you possibly compare “aspirations” and “visions”??
    2. Are they going to compensate GoB for the $20m or so they have just spent on the new customs scanner which will have to be moved – or do they plan this beautiful (sic) development to sit alongside the cargo dock?
    3. Didn’t the PLP say they couldn’t get cruise ships to come into Hamilton anymore?
    5. Where did this consultant come from and has he any conflict with the development committee/developers??

  16. Verbal Kint says:

    Who’s going to pay the consultant, the COH can’t afford to maintain a fountain. I hope Mr. Hagopian bit that quarter when they gave it to him.

  17. Werner says:

    The road’s through town are like a rodeo ride on a wild bronco at the legal speed limit and he is talking about doing a major development on the waterfront ??
    Prove yourself with the basic stuff first and than graduate to the next level.

  18. Hamiltonian says:

    Willemstad in Curacao has already built the dream…


    We could have this in place for the 2013 tourist season.

    • street wise says:

      Yes, this is a good idea — for now. It looks great… and busy! A little creativity (in very short supply here!), a few tables, chairs and umbrellas. Please not plastic! This could easily work. The restaurants would be fighting to participate. This could also work on Reid Street, between Burnaby and Queen, where the City has been saying FOR YEARS that they would close off this section of the Street, at least during the Summer.

  19. Hamiltonian says:

    The only thing the Corporation should be building is a multistory parking lot near the centre of town so the street parking can be turned into something useful :)

    • Jury says:

      They should have turn Bullheads into a multistory six floor parking lot. COH then could have used the City Hall parking as a mini park with Atrium and entertain complex.

  20. Bobmarlin says:

    Who has been promised the land to develop the waterfront.The land belongs to every Bermudian.The govt has not been consulted.In order for this to work,all the stakeholders have to be on board.They are a) the govt. b)the developer.c)the COH .d) financial institution etc……
    Mayor Outerbridge has not even informed,the most important partner,the govt,of his plans.Concessions,such as customs duty relief,immigration challenges,payroll tax relief,planning procedures etc…… must be discussed,planned and thought out before anything can happen.
    This project has definitely started out on the wrong foot.Fail to plan,plan to fail.
    It would be great to see something come to fruition.Our economy needs a boost.We must do it right,as it is one of or the most important developments in Bermuda’s history.Done right it could make us the jewel of The Atlantic.I hope egos,personalities and politics,do not get in the way.Good luck to all involved!

    • street wise says:

      I hope egos, GREED, personalities and politics, do not get in the way.


  21. Triangle Drifter says:

    Looks like somebody spent an afternoon doing rough sketches. Nothing anywhere near as thorough as done by JWS & crew many years ago.

    First of all, where have the commercial docks gone? A new commercial dock will have to be created before anything happens in Hamilton. Where will they go? Who will pay for them? Who gets the revenue from them since they will be outside of Hamilton?

    The cruise lines are going to Panamax & post Panamax ships. How are they supposed to even get into Hamilton Harbour? who pays for the widening of Two Rock & whatever else needs to be done to get them into the harbour?

    Yes the Hamilton waterfront needs major changes but changes such as the pretty artist sketches are way over the top. Where does Outerbridge & his PLP wonder team think they will get the money from to pay for this extravaganza? The bottom of Hamilton Harbour maybe?

  22. Vulpes says:

    Graham, enjoy your fifteen minutes or at least what is left of it.

  23. T says:

    where are the cargo dock being moved? have a location been decided on & a study been done on the feasibility of this move

    • Count Chocula says:

      Finally!!!!! Someone asked! Looking through the article, there’s no indication of strategy around the shipping container handling facility! Morgan’s Point? Dockyard? St Georges? Mr Mayor, if you’re going to share these plans with the public – share ALL of the plans please. Some of us can add two and two!

      • street wise says:

        The docks won’t be going anywhere.

        There is no other place to put them. Either the seas are too rough, or it’ll too far from town where 90% of the goods end up. But most of all, it’s way too expensive to move. Particularly if they are gonna spend a pile of money on the waterfront.

        BTW, that big Chinese-made Xray scanner they just installed won’t last very long in this climate. A few months and it will be done.

    • Justine says:

      And don’t forget the $20m or so just spent on installing a new x-ray scanner and the hall to house it! How do Gvt get their money back?

  24. bermuda boy says:

    A stupid question I’m sure but why do we need a corporation of Hamilton and St. George, Somerset doesn’t have one and it seems to run a lot smoother than both. Also, why are there so many lights on the road next to the masive new apartment buildings is St Davids? Who pays the light bill?

  25. Familiar says:

    I am going to say simply that I am appalled.

  26. Family Man says:

    Now we see why Graeme and his crew didn’t sign the good governance pledge.

  27. 1minute says:

    The only thing I think that looks good in the plan is getting 2 cruise ship back in Hamilton. Otherwise, it will ruin the look on the city.

    • Who done it says:

      You can’t have a water front with enormous cruise ships blocking the view… Defeats the purpose…

    • Justine says:

      And how will the cruise ships get to Hamilton – who pays to dredge the route in? Didn’t the last Gvt say they couldn’t attract any smaller cruise ships to Hamilton, but these plans show not 1 but 2!

  28. Eastern says:

    I hope they didn’t pay a lot of money for these drawings as this is almost a carbon copy of Vancouver’s water front.

  29. Jeff says:

    It looks like a massive airport terminal.

  30. Triangle Drifter says:

    Since the vast majority of containers go to the Hamilton area or not far outside a new commercial dock will have to in the central area otherwise roads will be far worse than they are now.

    The only real answer is the North Shore. The weather argument is not really valid. The oil docks have been there for many decades. No real issues. Government House will have to give up that nice, but unused, area next to Black Watch. Possibly a breakwater will need to be build creating something similar to Dockyard.

    Any ideas Mayor???

    As far as Hamilton goes, start simple but with future expansion in mind.

    Leave the commercial docks. Start with a cruise ship jetty at an angle out from the Flagpole area accommodating ships either side while not blocking out the harbour view when ships are in.

    Do NOT let Correia or Desilva anywhere near the project.

    • Hmmmmm says:

      Irony is a killer. You have just outlined Dennis Correia’s plan from ten years ago. That should kill the idea and the Governor can plan a picnic down there. Just hilarious.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        The idea of moving the docks to the N shore has been around far longer than 10 years. Nobody in particular has ownership of the idea. Location choices are extremely limited.

    • itchy eyeballs says:

      The North Shore plan dates to the Incinerator (UBP) era if not before. The plan with all the waste ash was to mix it with cement (as is done at the airport dump) to build the port on North Shore. All the wide roads leading to the round-about east of the Incinerator were for trucking goods etc. Lots of Govt land still fallow around there too, you may notice…

      North Shore happens to have a massive seagrass bed and is critical habitat for black groupers and many other juvenile fish we rely on for food and reef health. That will need to be considered if a port was developed there.

      But – I hear the new plan is to build a container dock at Marginal Wharf, and to use full-size container trucks to get goods to the Hamilton warehouses. These would presumably travel down the rickety causeway and North Shore road, night and day. One pities the late-night bar flies who stray into the wrong lane when those gurt-big trucks are peezin’ along the other way.

  31. Winnie Dread says:

    Jan 29,2013 lets start counting up,latest update Jan 29,2033 lets keep counting, not cynicism just realism, one more grand plan.

  32. Hmmmmm says:

    This is hilarious. Just think, if you all had supported the full reform that should have been in the Municipalities Act 2010, your Government would now own the land as opposed to these clowns. Short-sighted political points will always come back to bite you in the butt. (like consultants for Ministers) You guys are so rabid in your criticism that even poor BDA turned OBA Alex Decouto isn’t safe. This is a circus and the view from the cheap seats is just priceless. Government vs “visionary developer”…. now where have I seen this movie before……Meanwhile, the international development community can’t figure out which is more laughable; the fact that the Government doesn’t control the ports or own the land OR the fact that in 2013 we’re fighting with a group of amateurs who’ve never built an outhouse never mind a waterfront.Orville Redenbacker at the ready for this comedy.

  33. swing voter says:

    Strange that CoH didn’t follow other large entities and hold off signing contracts until AFTER the election. They purposly created a ‘do or die’ situation that puts the new gov’t azz in a prickly pear patch. If the CoH plan is back by ‘Brazarian’ style investors, developers, and consultants then we’re locked in until they choose to walk away or sue….CoH failed

  34. Argosy says:

    A true reflection on the ineffectiveness of the Outerbridge-lead CoH is that “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” Christmas sign still up in front of Bluck’s!!

    Maybe it’ll be down by Cup March or perhaps the Mayor is planning to leave it up so it can apply to ALL the year’s holidays!

    That guy’s an idiot…..

  35. navin johnson says:

    Translation the COH with their heavy leaning towards PLP members felt that the election result would be different and now much press on despite whatever potential financial penalties a developer may impose….To show how unqualified a part time photographer like Mr. Outerbridge is the developer has penalities on the COH instead of the other way around……this should be fun…..all of this with a grand total of 100 votes…..he is a stooge and nothing more….for a project that is totally dependant on Government cooperation he has shut them out of the process thus far….maybe those numerous elections that he lost were for a reason…

  36. Suspicious says:

    Oba do not get involved with these guys ,you can see first hand the quality of mr mcleans work as he built the bathrooms at the old no1 shed site.After 2 months the tile was falling off the walls the stalls were loose and detaching themselves from the walls ,and constant flooding when it rains.there is something fishy going on with this team,Oba do not do business with these people.The country needs to stop spending money,we don’t need this.

    • Suspicious says:

      This development team is dubious at best McLean isn’t even bermudian he’s a Jamaician .