Furbert: St Regis to usher in a new era of hotel development

Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert announced yesterday that a planned St. Regis hotel in Hamilton will usher in a new era of hotel development and stimulate job growth.

Mr Furbert said his Ministry had made considerable progress in making construction of the St. Regis hotel a reality.

“We have put the hotel developers together with the Mayor and Corporation of Hamilton and have urged them to find common ground for the good of Bermuda,” Mr Furbert said.

“And I am encouraged by the latest meetings which have seen significant results.”

The Ministry said the hotel had been the subject of lengthy discussions over several months between the developers and the Corporation of Hamilton, who hold the lease of the proposed site on Par-La-Ville car park.

Minister Furbert said he'd been working with the two parties over several weeks regarding the lease.

“We are, today, closer to reconciling these issues,” he said. “Moreover as Minister, I can confirm that I have seen the commitment letter from the firm who are prepared to finance the project and I am convinced that with a high level of goodwill on both sides, we can now move the project ahead. Time, however, is of the essence.

“The agreement has fixed timelines for its development, and the respective parties are fully aware of their mutual obligations, which are enveloped in the executed leases, and agreed herein.”

Minister Furbert added that he was working with all parties involved in financing and constructing the hotel to ensure that everything possible is done to adhere to the fixed timeline and schedule.

“The St. Regis project is so very important to Bermuda,” Mr Furbert said. “It will create many jobs which will stimulate our economy and will demonstrate, in the most practical way, Bermuda's ability to attract top hotel management groups, like Starwood, to the Island and give confidence to future investors.”

Mr Furbert said he expects to provide a “fuller update” to the public in the coming weeks, when all the respective parties including the developers can provide more details of the proposed luxury development.

Earlier this month Hamilton Mayor Charles Gosling had said if US developer Unified Resorts had the funding in place to build the St Regis hotel then it should show the City the money and move forward.

He was commenting after Unified official Ted Adams told The Royal Gazette the long-planned new luxury hotel and condo development in Hamilton could get off the ground this year and that he had the financing in place.

But a writ issued by the City of Hamilton last year remains before the courts and Mr Gosling earlier this month contended “there is no agreement in place between the City of Hamilton and Unified Resorts”.

The City Development Committee has said Unified did not meet its agreed obligations and deadlines, and had failed to put forward a construction plan for the proposed development.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which had attached its St Regis brand to the development in 2009, has refused to say whether it‘s still involved as the brand partner, saying only: “Due to confidentiality agreements we are unable to comment on the status of this particular project.”

Par La Ville Hotel and Residences Ltd is a partnership between Unified Resorts and New York-based Sagewood Investments; local businessman Donal Smith is a partner and shareholder in the company.

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Published Apr 2, 2012 at 4:00 am (Updated Apr 2, 2012 at 8:28 am)

Furbert: St Regis to usher in a new era of hotel development

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