Last updated: 12:06 PM ET, Fri May 06 2016

Baha Mar Liquidation Postponed as Buyers Line Up

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | May 06, 2016

Baha Mar Liquidation Postponed as Buyers Line Up

The Bahamas Supreme Court this week approved another delay, this one for five months, in the government’s winding-up petition connected to the long-stalled Baha Mar mega-resort. The adjournment was approved as up to 16 prospective buyers for the shuttered, $3.5 billion property have emerged, according to local news reports.

Wednesday’s hearing before Justice Ian Winder was scheduled to determine whether Baha Mar would be formally wound-up and placed into formal liquidation. The judge’s motion to delay the proceedings was the third adjournment approved by the Court since the government’s original summer 2015 filing.

A Bahamas Tribune report quotes Raymond Winder, Baha Mar’s court-appointed receiver, as saying a “good expectation” exists Baha Mar will be sold “before the matter returns to court at the end of September.” Winder declined to name interested parties.

Wayne Munroe, a lawyer for the petitioners, told the Tribune “16 persons” have expressed interest in purchasing Baha Mar and will have “a period to next week to put in their firm bids.” Baha Mar’s receivers launched a formal sales process for the stalled resort in March, hiring Canadian real estate firm Colliers International to market the property for sale.

READ MORE: Is Baha Mar Sale on The 'Fast Track'?

During that process questions arose regarding a “lack of transparency” cited by potential bidders. Island Capital Group principal Andrew Farkas previously said his firm did not receive “adequate information to make a determination” regarding a purchase of the idled resort.

There is no indication Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar’s original developer, is among the 16 prospective buyers cited by Monroe. Throughout the last several months the ousted developer has sought to regain control of the star-crossed project. He recently called the sales process “opaque, fraught with obstacles and irregularities and not designed to maximize value for all.”

Last month Izmirlian forwarded an offer to Baha Mar financier China Exim Bank under which the resort would be “opened successfully, payment would be made to unsecured creditors, and no discount would be incurred by China Exim on its Baha Mar funding,” but the bank failed to respond.

Recently he sent the receivers a letter reiterating his proposal for Baha Mar and questioning their “public comments from last week that CCA [China Construction America] is in a strong position to bid for and complete the project.”

Baha Mar’s failure originated with the dispute between Izmirlian and the resort’s general contractor, CCA Bahamas, whose numerous delays and missteps led to the project’s missed opening. CCA in turn blamed Izmirlian and Baha Mar executives, saying the project was mis-managed. Izmirlian has filed a lawsuit against CCA in the UK.

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