Sources Claim Baha Mar Out of Cash, Can't Finish Mega-Resort
On the same day that Bahamian officials met with leaders in the Baha Mar mega-resort project, rumors continue to circulate about if and when the project will open.
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters that after mediating discussions between Baha Mar, China Construction America (CCA) and the Chinese ambassador, he hopes for a speedy resolution to the ongoing construction delays in the project.
Christie, speaking at the opening of the Island House boutique hotel Monday, told the Bahamas Tribune that because of the government's heavy financial commitments to the project, his administration has “no room for error, no room for mistakes with respect to the single largest investment in the history of this region.”
But at the same time, the Tribune quoted a high-ranking source in the Christie administration Tuesday as saying that Baha Mar “does not have the cash to finish the project or pay the contractor.”
The source also told the Tribune that despite ongoing meetings between Baha Mar and CCA, it is “unlikely” the resort will be finished by the end of the year.
Representatives from Baha Mar have yet to comment on the latest rumors, but said Wednesday they plan to release a statement later today.
The reports come after the resorts included in the Baha Mar project - the 1,000-room Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the 300-room SLS Lux at Baha Mar, the 200-room Rosewood at Baha Mar, and the 707-room Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar – all further delayed their reservations on their websites.
All four resorts are showing Sept. 8 as the earliest date being accepted for reservations, as TravelPulse senior writer Brian Major wrote last week. This contradicted earlier statements from Baha Mar officials, who had said in April that the resorts’ flagship Baha Mar Casino & Hotel would open in May, with all rooms in all four hotels completed by the end of June.
This is the latest in a line of delays for the project, which set December 2014 as its initial opening date. When announcing delays in March, the first signs of a battle between resort officials and contractors became public, as Baha Mar blamed CCA for the delay.
“Our general contractor needs to meet its assurances so we are in a position to properly open this world-class destination resort,” Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian said in an address to the National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce in April. “Indeed, this amazing property is supposed to be the symbol of international co-operation. It is now up to our general contractor to decide how this next chapter will be written.”
Christie sounded as if he was losing faith in the process in his comments Tuesday, while conceding just how important getting the resort opening back on track is to the economic well being of the island.
“We know that the health of our economy and the health of tourism is heavily dependent on our being able to move to an early conclusion with respect to what will be a spectacular resort experience, and therefore I trust that even as I’m speaking now, that I have been listened to and that the results will soon be evident to all,” Christie said.
A tabloid report early this week also suggested that Christie is attempting to find a financial savior for the project and has approached The Genting Group to buy 51 percent of the resort project.
Baha Mar senior vice president of external and governmental affairs Robert “Sandy” Sands told the Tribune that “there is absolutely no truth to that story and I categorically deny it.”
BAHA MAR TIMELINE
October 2013: Baha Mar announces construction is two-thirds complete
June 2014: SLS takes over for Morgan at Baha Mar
August 2014: Mega-resort opening pushed back to spring 2015
Tuesday: Reports that a 2015 opening are “unlikely” surface as government officials meet with Baha Mar and contractor to iron out issues with completing construction.
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