Southampton Hotel Developers “Remain Hopeful’

September 22, 2023 | 17 Comments

“Given the significant benefits it will have for the tourism industry and, by extension, the island’s greater economy, we remain hopeful” that we “will be successful when our proposal goes before the Minister,” the Fairmont Southampton developers said after the Planning Department recommended the SDO is not approved.

Fairmont Southampton Princess hotel resort generic (1)

Planning Letter

The letter from planning said, “The proposal is in direct conflict with the strategies, goals and objectives of the Bermuda Plan 2018 and is considered to represent an unsustainable form of development which would result in several adverse environmental effects which the applicant has failed to demonstrate can or would be satisfactorily mitigated whilst failing to commit to enhancements of beneficial effects.

“It is noted that the business model which the applicant has chosen to finance the refurbishment of the Hotel is, according to the applicant, reliant on approval being granted for the quantum of development proposed. There is therefore a greater possibility that the Hotel will not be reopened if approval is not granted, although the extent of this possibility nor the amount of time the Hotel would remain closed cannot reasonably be assessed based on the limited data and lack of alternative financing models which have been presented.

“It is therefore recommended that the Minister responsible for Planning does not proceed with making a Special Development Order based on the proposal as it has been presented.”

Westend Properties

A spokesperson said, “The recommendation of the Planning Department to the Development Applications Board [DAB] regarding the Fairmont Southampton SDO is disappointing, but we are not surprised.

“The Department’s purview has fairly specific parameters and focuses on the technical assessment of application proposals to ensure compliance with planning policies and zoning regulations. Further, the DAB is legally prevented from approving any development that does not conform to the current development plan. As a result, the DAB cannot actually approve Westend’s application.

“Bermuda’s SDO process was designed precisely for this type of situation – where a development proposal doesn’t fall within the regular zoning guidelines, but is in the national interest, power is granted to the Minister of Home Affairs to approve development through an SDO. We are grateful that the process allows for this additional opportunity for review.

“Despite the fact that Planning’s recommendation was not unexpected, we strongly disagree with several of the conclusions outlined in the Department’s report. We listened to the public’s concerns about various aspects of the proposed development and had multiple meetings with Planning and adapted our plan accordingly after each consultation.

“In response, we went back to the drawing board to scale back our plans and reduce density on the site. We made several changes in an effort to address the concerns while still making the project financially viable – our revised application reduced the total number of units and significantly reduced the height of some of the proposed buildings.

“It also includes several community gains, some environmental – such as the designation of three tracts of land as Protected Conservation Areas – and some focused on safety – such as the realignment of the S-bend on South Road. We believe that the Southampton property can easily accommodate the development of residential and tourism units as laid out in our proposal; in fact, the majority of the property will remain as green space which includes the golf course.

“Given the significant benefits it will have for the tourism industry and, by extension, the island’s greater economy, we remain hopeful that our desire to create a year-round destination resort will be successful when our proposal goes before the Minister.”

click here Bermuda Fairmont SDO

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Comments (17)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “It is noted that the business model which the applicant has chosen to finance the refurbishment of the Hotel …”

    And there we have it. GenCom made a choice and now should live with the consequences of that choice.

    • Pequat1639 says:

      The choice made was based solely on greed and had little to do with Bermuda’s tourism market or opening the hotel.
      How many times must we witness a developer build these fractional housing while the tourism venture get scaled down or done away with altogether.
      Keep in mind that our tax dollar is on the hook bailing out a multi million dollar corporation with .no guarantee of return.
      Worst still we are subjected to threats that the hotel will remain closed should the SDO not be granted.
      I would sooner see that than have some foreign entity try to hold us for ransom because they do not get their way.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    One of the most egregious issues is the lack of detailed proposals. So much is “we’ll provide more details when we get the SDO”. It’s basically blackmail when Gencom has had many years to come up with detailed plans. When they get the SDO, which clearly Roban will/has agreed, and despite what Burt says it is not supported by the majority, just the reopening of the hotel, what’s to stop them deciding not to go ahead and sell the entire site as a real estate deal? Burt et al have shown they are way out of their depth in negotiating anything, shown by the resignation of Curtis Dickenson, so many months ago.

  3. Chanticleer says:


    1. Do they really wish for the hotel to be reopened?
    2. Is there significant historical importance to the site this SDO is attached to? Maybe (or maybe not) the Bermuda National Trust and Bermuda Museum can shed some light on that?

  4. watching says:

    Get it done. Pass the SDO and let’s get a move on. We need this hotel and this project. Those that are against it are mostly against it for political reasons.

    • Kim Smith says:

      You couldn’t be more mistaken… but I doubt you are interested in hearing that. I imagine it wouldn’t fit with the story you are telling yourself.

    • Double s says:

      So the department of planning is political? You truly are a simple simp for the PLP. Try supporting Bermuda for once.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “Those that are against it are mostly against it for political reasons.”

      A more Trumpesque comment I cannot imagine.

      Just because someone does not agree with you, “watching”, does not mean those people are part of a political movement to keep you down.

      “The proposal is in direct conflict with the strategies, goals and objectives of the Bermuda Plan 2018″

      Are you suggesting that the PLP Government simply ignore laws that you don’t like?

  5. hair says:

    Humm, really?

  6. Richard says:

    We need that hotel

  7. Unbelievable says:

    I want one PLP delegate from the 2022 leadership contest to tell me that they weren’t lied to. Just one.

  8. Economy says:

    I do NOT wish to have a Giant, Elephant Ghost Hotel any longer in my Backyard. I also do not wish to have a continuous SPUTTERING AND DERELICT ECONOMY any longer because of lack of development and spending of money to make the economy grow. This is why Bermudians are leaving in record numbers, because of Bermuda constantly kicking itself in the foot. The site is Zoned Tourism!!!! Get the Hotel started, the property developed smartly, preserve the golf course as planned and straighten out South Road. Stop the HEMMING AND HAWING, and move already! Bermuda is Frozen and Stuck in the Old School. Put that to Bed. I live here too and right next door.
    Bermuda is turning more boring every year, while other jurisdictions put us to shame by embracing economic development and foreign investment. WE SCARE IT AWAY AND WONDER WHY WE CANNOT MOVE BERMUDA FORWARD economically and assist its own people with any sort of prosperity. We are totally sad! We are too far gone and lost our way. Some people just love to hate everything, and anything anybody does positive that they can’t do. Very sad. Very childish. We are our own worst enemy. Go ahead keep saying no to every property proposal, then wonder why the Island keeps contracting and stagnating economically. Oh, that’s right, we keep losing Flights because the numbers of people don’t fill them! Ask yourself why? THE ECONOMY STINKS!

  9. Economy says:

    Yes, we NEED that Hotel bad! Think Economy.

  10. Economy says:

    Minister, please, what is so unsustainable about the proposal when most of the Acres on the site are not being developed by buildings? I find the DAB’s letter, Faulty! Very frivolous and weak with very little merit.
    Tourist sites and Hospital sites are usually developed a little higher density than the average sites around. As long as green space is utilized properly, that is what counts. Put it through and assist the economy or else what is your plan to help us? You’re trying to get the economy jump -Started right? There is always a tasteful way to make things work. Don’t be narrow-minded. Thank You.

  11. gary w fischer says:

    This reminds me of a project across the street from me – I live in rural NW Jersey. There was a 250acre farm across the street from me and my neighbor’s daughter wanted to partner the purchase with me and everyone would receive 50acres each her dad had money and a horse farm. He backed out – saying if it’s
    subdivided those people will shop at his food stores, some builder came in with a plan to build a golf course and 50 condos. Well they received approval a while later including a water tower (eye sore) approval’s for how it was to be watered voila a plan. The project was approved then sold. The new owner re-negotiated the deal as the project began stating there wasn’t enough money in the project to make it worth building. (Surprise) more houses, no impact on the schools (wrong) the town has to help with the Water tower repairs and maintenance, the roads in the private community HOA in need of repair, golf course died (with their memberships) and was sold to a horse vet. All those people who gave the go ahead are all gone, golf carts sold off w/chargers, the golf bldg. sold to a caterer who does weddings etc. Be careful what you wish for! The approvers were all looking for a place to hang out and brag about being a part of something grand. The method they devised to water the golf course greens (ponds) didn’t work. they’re usually empty. No exit strategy, no money. They went on the assumption the homeowner’s all 50 homes were enough to support the golf (nope).
    They needed 650 members min. and corporate sponsor’s year-round to just support the golf course. It’s amazing the decisions of a few impacts the many. It costs more to sand blast and paint the water tower than it cost to build. There’s not as much money left with a good plan – pay now or pay later or pay both ways it’s your money use it wisely. (It should be voted on) not by 1 authority. That something “grand” was in the community tax bill to subsidize their mistake.

  12. Gary W Fischer says:

    An acre is 200′x200′and Gencon wants to build (250/14=18 condos per acre) seems an extremely high density. With fractional ownership there will be plenty of money to go around to Gencon and the politicians. How-ever the face of the hotel will be changed forever. It’s amazing that Bermudians are hoping on their future being saved by corporations booking blocks of rooms for their employees. For example: All State insurance and others are pulling out of Florida and other insurance markets because their claims have exceeded their income – so what they did is open up another insurance company which winds up paying 30% of the value of their claims, if at all, there-by keeping their company viable causing the population to pay for their existence, keeping their management “employed” & rewarded. This is how the scam works against the working man meanwhile they use their extra money to buy gov bonds and payola to the lawmakers with favorable regulations to ensure their existence is a continuing success. That’s why politics is a lifelong career today, inside info. Meanwhile a percentage (30%) of the population is having no qualms keeping a corpse to run our country when he should be staring in ‘night of the living dead’. That 30% are gov employees,
    get the picture. He’s the boss. Final note – I’d hate to have purchased ‘Duamber’ at $4.5mil not knowing how adjacent properties were to be altered and developed after the fact. Concrete jungle

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