Minister: Desarrollos To Develop Club Med Site

May 23, 2014

[Updated with video] The Government has entered in an “exclusive negotiation period” with the Venezuela-based Desarrollos Hotelco Group to develop the old Club Med property, Minister of Tourism Shawn Crockwell announced in the House of Assembly this morning [May 23].

The proposed development includes a 238 room hotel and the renovation of the St. George’s golf course.

The resort development will also include 16 hotel residences, 24 golf villas, 16 estate residences consisting of 3 and 4 bedrooms residences, a spa and fitness center, meeting rooms and ballroom located in Fort Victoria, swimming pools, pool bar and grill, and a specialty restaurant located in Fort Albert.

The Minister also added the development is set to include a casino.

Club Med Bermuda July 19 2012 (1)

The Minister said, “A decision has been made to enter into an exclusive negotiation period with international resort hotel developer Desarrollos Hotelco Group  to construct a world class full service resort on the St. George’s Tourism Development site.

“The exclusive negotiation period will allow the Government and Desarrollos to meet with both internal and external stakeholders, negotiate terms, prepare the relevant documentation to finalize agreements to construct and operate a world class luxury resort development on the 124 acre St. George’s Tourism Development Site.”

The east end property has not been used as a hotel resort for many years. The property was once a Holiday Inn, changed into Lowes, then taken over by Club Med, closed in 1988, and imploded in 2008.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise this morning to inform and update this Honourable house on the significant progress this Government has made on the St. George’s Tourism Development Site.

Mr. Speaker, we have very exciting news to share today that is testament of our focus and efforts to create an inviting business environment to attract inward investment and private sector jobs for Bermudians.

Mr. Speaker, we are extremely pleased to announce a decision has been made to enter into an exclusive negotiation period with international resort hotel developer “Desarrollos Hotelco Group” to construct a world class full service resort on the St. George’s Tourism Development site. Desarrollos is an experienced Venezuelan real estate and hotel development group. The Company was founded in 1997 and over the years Desarrollos has developed many commercial, residential and hospitality real estate projects in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Mr. Speaker, the exclusive negotiation period will allow the Government and Desarrollos to meet with both internal and external stakeholders, negotiate terms, prepare the relevant documentation to finalize agreements to construct and operate a world class luxury resort development on the 124 acre St. George’s Tourism Development Site.

Mr. Speaker, the selection of Desarrollos resulted from a thorough Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process that had the stated objective “To provide a high quality tourism development that will complement the St. George’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation and accentuate the historical significance of the area while providing economic opportunities for the people of St. George’s and Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, interest was expressed by over a dozen international development and investment companies which resulted in five (5) written submissions being received by the Ministry of Tourism Development & Transport by the March 31st deadline.

Each proposal was thoroughly reviewed and evaluated incorporating a decision matrix that took into consideration the respondents international experience in successfully financing, building, owning and operating luxury resort developments and their relationships with renowned hotel brands. From this process two (2) shortlisted finalists emerged and the finalists were required to make oral presentations to the Economic Development Committee.

Mr. Speaker, by no means was it an easy decision as both shortlisted finalist submitted impressive proposals that were augmented with very detailed oral presentations that highlighted their desire and enthusiasm for the project but most importantly their proven ability to deliver projects was evidenced. Ultimately, Desarrollos was chosen.

Mr. Speaker, in 2002 Desarrollos began focusing on the development of luxury hotels starting with the development and successful opening of the JW Marriot in Venezuela.

After the completion of this successful project Desarrollos has continued developing high brand luxury hotels and their development portfolio includes the Marriott Playa Grande and the Renaissance in Venezuela and this past December, the company opened the 320 room Ritz Carlton Aruba which also includes a casino and spa.

The company has also recently announced that a Ritz Carlton and a JW Marriott will be constructed in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2019 and 2020.

Mr. Speaker, Desarrollos has partnership agreements with renowned high end luxury hotel brands and they will partner with a preferred management company for this project. The proposed development includes a two hundred and thirty eight (238) room hotel and the renovation of the 18 hole Robert Trent Jones designed St. George’s golf course.

The resort development will also include:

• 16 Hotel Residences
• 24 Golf Villas
• 16 Estate residences consisting of 3 and 4 bedrooms residences
• Spa and fitness center
• Meeting rooms and ball room located in Fort Victoria
• Casino
• Swimming pools
• Pool bar and grill
• A specialty restaurant located in Fort Albert

Mr. Speaker, this announcement is exciting news for Bermuda as the benefits of this development are significant to the revitalization of our tourism industry, the St. George’s community and Bermuda as a whole.

This development has the potential to spur other developments and provide exponential employment opportunities. Therefore, I strongly encourage Honourable members and all Bermudians to collectively work together and do our utmost to ensure the success of this project.

Mr. Speaker, I will ensure members are kept fully apprised of progress.

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  1. Hotel Developer Receives 60 Day Extension - Bernews.com : Bernews.com | October 22, 2014
  1. 297 says:

    Bout time

    • It's about time! says:

      I just had to jump onto this post! LOL I can’t wait to read what the Bettty’s have to say about this!!

      • Black Soil says:

        With the OBA in power, they have to deliver or they get voted out. Whereas with PLP all they have to do nothing provided they don’t borrow to do nothing….and that’s where they screwed up. This is the key DIFFERENCE between both parties.

        • Karma says:

          14 years and PLP couldn’t get it done. 14 months DONE – Good work OBA!

          • Mixitup says:

            After shoving Gaming down the throats of the populace – sure, much can get done when you remove the ‘PEOPLE’ from the equation, Chavez & Castro do it.

            • Sandy Bottom says:

              Chavez has been dead for over a year. You don’t get out much, do you.

            • Sickofantz says:

              What sort of business does Marc Bean run again?

          • Ian says:

            I will say it again. Stop running your mouth off counting chickens when all theyve annouced is the start of NEGOTIATIONS – hopefully successful ones.

            • Comebye Ahh says:

              Did you feel the same way when the Dr. talked about it? Heck he even had the Discovery Channel record the explosion and told the world the plans for the site?

              • Ian says:

                What the heck does this have to do with Dr. Brown??? You people are like children with your “I know you are but what am I…” antics…

      • OLnlyinbda says:

        Betty cant say nothing because its no way she can twist this in favor of the PLP she is a hater for change

        • Coffee says:

          Betty can’t come to the phone right now … She is busy , Craig’s crying on her shoulders and telling her about all the bad things that the OBA/UBP had done to him and the nasty way in which they kicked him out when his services were no longer needed and he became a liability .

          • 32n64w says:

            No one forced Craig to do anything. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your narrative.

      • Forget Betty because I am sure she will hit it on the head,Minister Crockwell had to get this information into the hands of the press, hoping the issue with jet gate and his resignation would all go away.

        Well it ain’t happening, so get over it and this don’t mean we are going to see anything down east anytime soon, but if it does begin to develop and materialize into something positive, Crock would always be able to say he got this deal just prior to his resignation.

        Thank’s for all your hard work but now let the new tourism authority take it from here, better still hire Ewart to oversea the project, since he had the place blown up in the first place and gave away our land at the golf course.

    • No Effin Way! says:

      This ain’t going to happen. This company doesn’t even have a website.

  2. Hmmm says:

    Brilliant !! Great work OBA

    • Karma says:

      This is horrible NEWS! For the PLP that is! While they have been focusing 100% on complaining and on a plan to get the OBA out, the OBA have been working on Bermuda’s future!

      PLP destroyed the property – literally, and the OBA found a partner to rebuild.

      • Ian says:

        What part of “negotiations” do you people not understand. We can all celebrate if they are successful negotiations.

        • Comebye Ahh says:

          Again I ask you did you say the same when the PLP made announcements – more than once and delivered zero!

  3. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Alrighty then…let’s now get Bermuda BACK TO WORK!

  4. haha says:

    Congrats to the PLP…oh wait they didn’t do ****! Keep em’ coming OBA!

  5. Toodle-oo says:

    Let’s hope this development is scaled and spaced in the Bermudian vernacular .Not like that cookie cutter concrete jungle that Bazarian had drawn up .

    The old hotel may have been a box but at least its footprint was only a small part of the total acreage.

  6. aceboy says:

    How long did we wait to see if Bazarian would pull his finger out? How many times was that hotel development “announced” during the PLP tenure??

    • Onion says:

      There’s a 15×20 trench dug by all the “ground breaking” ceremonies.

  7. swing voter says:

    I’ve been waiting 14yrs for this to happen…. right behind a bad patch of stupidity, what a breath of fresh air to have a government that gets something done. let the trickle down begin!

  8. Cow Polly says:

    Hurray…. hurray ….. hurray……..

  9. Joonya says:

    All sounds good. But im sure dem otha bies will find something to cry about..

  10. Mixitup says:

    I’ll be interested in who will manage this. Based on this groups portfolio, the have good relations the Major Brands. I’d like to see this as a Ritz, St Regis, or Four Seasons.

  11. Smh says:

    I’ll get happy when I actually see progress, can’t trust any of these politicians. Patiently waiting…..

  12. Starting Point says:

    Hopefully this is not a five year negotiation that fizzles out like the other proposed projects on the island. Pass gaming legislation now to increase the fire and excitement for investors of this venture!

    And please…please find a way to work with the BIU to increase excitement of job opportunities within their ranks, identify potential job categories and get training in place this year to prep Bermudian masons, electricians, welders etc. for potential jobs in 2 years when hopefully construction can begin.

    If I was a labour person right now, I would aggressively be prepping myself to gain skills vital to this project, speak with your union and demand that they identify some funding and training (from your dues fyi) to be ready to maximize this opportunity. Do not wait three years and then complain that all the high paying mason jobs are going to foreigners when you have the chance today to follow the progress of these negotiations and get ready. The BIU must be linked into this project, not in the planning etc. but in the layout of needed skills from our local work force.

  13. Ian says:

    I see a lot of chicken counting posted. Lets not jinx ourselves and insteand pipe down untile the “negotiations” determine whether this will actually materialize.

    • sage says:

      I agree.

    • Serengeti says:

      Know what you mean. How many times did Ewart’s promises come to nothing? “Ground was being broken in November 2011″, he said. “Financing is in place”, he said. Turned out to be complete lies. I can see why you’re disillusioned.

      • Ian says:

        Its not disillusion, its common sense. What exactly is the value you add referring to Ewart when this has nothing to do with him?

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          You’re the one that brought up the idea that it might not materialize. You must have been speaking from the experience we all have of this. Thankfully nobody is misleading us this time by announcing the date that ground will be broken.

          • Ian says:

            Are you pretending to be daft?? What part of EXCLUSIVE NEGOTIATING PERIOD do you not get? Any experience in business period would tell you that doesnt equate to a done deal. Not everyone’s perspective on the details released on this is built on a pathetic (albeit predictable) attempt to tie everything to the PLP… Grow up ADULT.

          • 32n64w says:

            Shhhh Sandy Bottom …. don’t you know it’s only ok when ‘they do it’??

  14. Onion says:

    Presumably the hotel will be built first BEFORE the residences.

  15. James Herald says:

    Sincerely hoping that this will happen and we’ll actually see something come of this – unlike the countless empty promises from the PLP. Especially the meaningless self serving garbage which eminated from a certain presidential style premier.

  16. Looking in says:

    Minister Crockwell,do not be like the PLP and lie to us.
    The development,now announced better go ahead as we have been told . If it does not the entire OBA will be in the sling!

  17. Starting Point says:

    It would be great if we could also see negotiations to move part of the IB infrastructure to St. Georges to support the hotel as well. A few large IB firms with proper building designs in St. Georges would do wonders for the economy out there, increase use of ferries, support restaurants etc. St. Georges is a very attractive place for high end locals and guest to live FYI, a few enthusiastic investors and this town could be thriving again.

    IB out there would not lose competitively when hamilton is a 30 minute cab ride away for meeting eta, ferry is even a better way to travel imo. even give thought to an incentive based program of tax reduction for construction or payroll exemptions for new IB startups in the east?

    Government does not need to spend money, they need to create opportunities for others to do so.

    • Pond Dog says:

      This is a fantastic idea. Maybe choose a couple of areas, like the old St Georges Secondary area, and provide incentives to have IB build a couple of “low rise” campus style buildings. Government has been talking for YEARS about locating a few Government Offices in St Georges, they could locate there also. Between the Resort Hotel, IB campus and Government Offices, St Georges could come storming back with spinoff supporting businesses. With today’s technology, there is ZERO reason to base business offices only in Hamilton. I think everything is concentrated there because the infrastructure already exists. Come on Bermy and St Georges, shake the lead out and hop on this fantastic idea. But wait…..I forgot the biggest hurdle to the promise of success in Bermuda. Bermudians are ALLERGIC to change.

    • Cow Polly says:

      LOL! Travel by Ferry? Better make it an essential service first

  18. concerned ambassador says:

    Been told ground must be broken in 120 days or deal is null and void.

  19. lucky 7 says:

    Great job Minister Crockwell!–especially like the mention about the Casino.

  20. MB says:

    GREAT news. It will happen- as has casino. OBA should be applauded

  21. big lad says:

    Am I the only one that spotted the mention of a casino in what the resort will include?

    The resort development will also include:

    • 16 Hotel Residences
    • 24 Golf Villas
    • 16 Estate residences consisting of 3 and 4 bedrooms residences
    • Spa and fitness center
    • Meeting rooms and ball room located in Fort Victoria
    • Casino
    • Swimming pools
    • Pool bar and grill
    • A specialty restaurant located in Fort Albert

    • St. Geo Boy says:

      Nope, not all.

      Personally I truly hope that this comes to fruition as I would love to make a night of it in the Olde Towne with good food, live and local entertainment and a little bit of gambling.

      And the above doesn’t take into account the construction and new hospitality jobs that the development would inevitably create.

      Please make it happen Government!!

  22. GREAT NEWS for BERMUDA….

    THE OBA leadership and PLP leadership need to “COME TOGETHER” for BERMUDA – To continue the divisive politics will take Bermuda into a downward spiral with immeasurable consequences no one wants.

    These BOLD STEPS would help Bermuda turn around
    1. Pass Resort Gaming Legislation for Resort Hotels immediately
    2, Pass eGaming legislation
    3. Allow Same Sex couples to marry – President Obama has led this in the USA
    4. Put in place a local Lottery available to the planet ONLINE.
    5. Legalize Marijuana for personal use and licensed coffee shops
    6. Immigration reform – Investor citizenship
    7. Allow car rentals for hotel guests
    8. Enact the SAGE REPORT recommendations ASAP

    These items above would fire up the economic engines – there is no time to waste!

    Other issues:
    Public Education Reform
    Examination of Bermuda’s pesticide policy
    Health Care reform – monitoring fair play/pricing between Pharmacists, doctors and health insurers. At the end of the day the people of Bermuda and employers pay crazy premiums. A fair profit is acceptable in any business, but there is some price gauging going on in healthcare.
    How can an STD test in Bermuda cost $ 1000 more than in the USA ?
    MRI scan costs compared to Europe are astronomical.

    • Ayooo says:

      this is awesome :) OBA take note of what is typed above…. great points

    • Tony you forgot to put in the line up for us to have a legal red light district, so prostitution would be legal then all bases are covered.

  23. street wise says:

    Don’t get too excited… talk is cheap.

  24. Kindley says:

    Wonderful news except for the casino and size. Be very careful. Don’t destroy the Crown Jewel of the island. This would mean more jobs and I’m sure tourist would keep coming back because of the location on the island.

  25. Gotham says:

    Interesting, seems Desarrollos have considerable experience – note projects in Aruba and TCI. They do not appear to manage finished projects; their Aruba is Ritz Carlton brand and TCI is a Marriott (ugh…). Now if the Bean will shut his trap for a while, maybe we can finally get on with it.

  26. Tricks are for Kids says:

    Curious as to why another hotel is being built. Is it with the hopes that because ‘it’s new” visitors will stay there?…..I say this because we often hear of the hotels that we currently have complain about not filling beds. I understand that it will provide jobs during construction but than what????? Other things need to be done on the island to intice visitors here other then building a hotel…of course you will get those that think this is the best thing since sliced bread…..

    • James Herald says:

      Tricks: Why build a hotel? Well it can’t be any worse than the PLP practice of blowing them up can it?

    • James Rego says:

      Exactly!!!

  27. Ginger Beer says:

    You fools know this can be seen worldwide don’t you!!

  28. Lick My Chicken says:

    I’ll believe it once it’s built.

  29. Terry says:

    This is good news and looking forward to the area being developed.

    Now don’t bite me too hard folks but have you seen what is going on in Venezuela as we speak?

    Best of luck and Thailand is now a military Government.

    Just thoughts.

    • Perry says:

      Fool

      • Terry says:

        Perry.
        If your calling me a fool your way off base.

        Venezuela is under basic MARSHALL LAW.

        What would you say if North Korea make a proposal.

        You just don’t get it.

        • JT says:

          Learn to write proper sentences with correct spelling and grammar and perhaps your bizarre & irrelevant comments might be taken seriously. Then again…

  30. Curious??? says:

    How can you finalise a deal for Casinos if Casinos aren’t legal

    • Rick Rock says:

      Is that a bit like asking how can you buy a couple of limos and import them, if limos aren’t legal?

    • somuchless says:

      Or bring in public busses that have wheel chair access and we can’t even utilize them??????

  31. clearasmud says:

    In my life time over the past 30 years I have heard promises of several hotels that were NEVER built. I will hold of on the congrats until it is actually built.

  32. shutthemdown says:

    ubp fanboys you cant even wait till constuction starts

    Nothing has been said that a hotel is for sure going to get done.

    you f…..g ppl make me laugh

    this is the same story with a possible hotel.

    I am not celebrating just yet

  33. Steve Davis says:

    The PLP will try their damned hardest to try and stop this from materializing.

    Prepare for the strikes, the marches and the accusations. They will rest at nothing.

  34. Unbelievable says:

    Oooh this must drive the PLP mental that the OBA is getting this done in less than two years of office when they had since maybe 2006 – 2012 to start something.

    Remember the PLP’s Wayne Furbert harping on about breaking ground in 2012 and just before the election?

  35. js says:

    lets look at the Turks and Caicos deal as a case example

    March 2011 Desarrallos first visited TCI to eyeball the property proposed for development

    Feb 2012 they were in close dialogue with the TCI investment unit

    Nov 13 2012 they signed an agreement with the TCI government to develop the property

    2019 to 2020 is the anticipated date of completion

    to date they have yet to break ground

    so if the Bda government at this stage have merely entered into an ‘exclusive negotiation period’ agreement Bermuda is looking at a minimum of 7 to 8 years before a hotel is physically up and running

    clearly this is a sad attempt by government to deflect from the obvious and the inevitable

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      The Ritz Carlton in Aruba was announced in Feb 2010 and opened in November 2013.

      • Double Standards says:

        A beautiful hotel as well with a small and tasteful casino area.

        Really hoping that this comes through along with Morgans Point, the Par-La-Ville hotel, and the imminent Sonesta redevelopment by the Greens.

        Will wait to be overly excited once I see some shovels in the ground. But if they do come to be Bermuda will begin to experience true recovery.

        Here’s to hoping!

      • js says:

        do you think before you write

        a little background about the Aruban Ritz-Carlton

        In 2003 the Aruban Government granted Bazarian International an option to lease the Palm Beach property for the purposes of developing a luxury resort

        Bazarian approached the Ritz Carlton people about a possible management deal

        the Ritz Carlton people then introduced Bazarian to Desarrollos about a possible development deal

        in short the Bazarian option expired and Desarrollos made their own bid for a renewed option which was granted by the Aruban Government in 2006 leading to Bazarian filing legal action against Desarrollos

        the point being made is that Desarrollos was in the negotiating stage as we now are back in 2003

        they broke ground in 2010 and completed construction in 2013

        in what world do you live in where a $500 million hotel can be at the negotiation stage and then built to completion in 3 years

        it took Aruba the better part of a decade to get the Ritz Carlton built on top of the fact that they had legalized gambling since 1959

        how long do you really think it will take to put up a hotel in St George’s

        partisan politics aside

  36. mixitup says:

    You can tell by the comments what the OBA drones are really saying.. “Finally this Gov’t is doing something” For all who insist that the PLP and their groups is looking for failure, not so. I personally don’t give a hoot who get’s it done, just get it done! If it Benefits the Bermudian people and is done transparently, then I’m all for it!

    • Double Standards says:

      I wouldn’t stay they haven’t done anything. More business friendly laws have been put in place to encourage much needed investment while our approach to promoting tourism has also been changed radically. Corruption laws have been updated, the SAGE Commission findings are being acted upon as well as the Public Service reform initiative underway. bermuda’s charity register has been cleaned up after years of non-management and a shipping registry office is about to be established as means to bring it greater Government revenue. Revenue which I might add is crucial in order for the Government to close the massive $330mn deficit that they are currently running.

      They first and foremost sought to settle the one pillar that is currently funding our Government. Once that is accomplished and stabilized then the work on other areas in terms of diversifying the economy can begin. Just imagine if the IB companies continued to strike themselves our registers like in recent years. Then the Government would have no income to use to focus on adding additional pillars to our economy, enhance infrastructure or fund social programs.

      So while many might not like so much change in a short period of time, I don’t think it is correct to say that this Government hasn’t done anything up until now.

  37. nuffin but the truth says:

    I”LL BELIEVE IT WHEN IT”S BUILT…

    UNTIL…Heard it ALL before from the defunct and failed plp.

  38. Coffee says:

    Crockwell will soon be … Disgraced ex Tourism Minister . Then what ?

  39. Looking in says:

    We were lied to so often when the PLP were in power,it is hard to believe anything!

  40. do ya homework says:

    It all looks good, but this company has been doing business with the Turks&Caicos government. If you don’t know, t&c is widely known for its corruption.. so much corruption that the British government had to take over. All im saying is to keep ya eyes open.

    http://www.turksandcaicosrealestatespecialist.com/blog/turks_caicos_inks_500m_three_resort_deal/#.U4Bc_nNwbqA

  41. Encyclopedia says:

    Desarrollos does not even have a website. There should be more disclosure about them. Google search does not provide much info about them or Walter Stipa

  42. Alvin Williams says:

    ‘Hotel and casino plan is great news says Bascome’ so blares the headlines of the Bermuda version of the old Soviet newspaper the Izvestia. It is not often the UBP/oba member of parliament Kenneth Bascome would be bless with such a headline; although since he was elected he has not been known for a great many speeches in parliament. On the one hand the headline was probably design to give him a political boost since he is the UBP/oba member of parliament for the East end. He could not have endeared himself with the people of the East end since he and other UBP/oba politicians from the area choose to be on the wrong side of the struggle to retain the Lamb/Foggo clinic.
    But here is another intriguing speculation; Could Mr. Bascome be place in line to become the next deputy premier? One thing is for sure since the force resignation of former premier Cannonier; the stock and value of the black member of the UBP/oba has taken a severe knock. that is the chief concern of the UBP/oba government and it’s new leader; to some how restore the shaken faith of would be black supporters. To have the new leader appearing in the media in as large a light that could be created and to have blaring headlines showing what the UBP/oba government is supposedly doing. Heck don’t be surprise to see the new leader of the UBP/oba appearing on the Sherry-J talk show; the fix is in.

  43. Ringmaster says:

    The hotel plan includes a casino. That puts the PLP in a dilemma. Marc Bean has said forget a referendum and get gambling going. I wonder if he has a conflict there. If so he should resign. However others want a referendum. If the PLP support a referendum and gambling is not approved the hotel plan will likely fall apart. No jobs for Bermudians thanks to the PLP. So the dilemma – does the PLP agree with allowing gambling without a referendum, or chance the referendum?

  44. PappaNinja says:

    Ain’t gonna happen. How they doing to make $’s.

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