Bazarian: Termination of lease improper
Developer Carl Bazarian says the termination of his lease was improper and he continues to plough ahead with a proposed new Hyatt resort in St Georges. He said he had spent millions of his own money on its design and other expenses so far.
Mr Bazarian told The Royal Gazette yesterday he was aware of the termination of his lease, but did not want to comment further on that.
However, he did say he remained committed to the planned resort at the old Club Med site, which would see a hotel, golf course and amenities built as a first phase without residential units.
He said he submitted a building permit application for the beach club component of the project prior to the termination, but has yet to receive an official response from Government.
"I said I would begin construction within six weeks of receiving building permits, and I still believe that could happen, Mr Bazarian said. Other developers and hotel operators have come and left. I have not left and am committed to St George's and Bermuda."
Mr Bazarian said he had spent "millions" of his own money on project architectural, engineering, Planning approval and other expenses and is continuing to work with Hyatt to implement a revised plan whereby the financing of the hotel and Nick Faldo Golf Course, and related amenities are de-linked from the development of the resort's 122 tourism residences.
He added that he expects to meet with the new Government to discuss the "revised game plan and where all sides go from here".
New Minister Shawn Crockwell met yesterday with David Dodwell, who is to head a new Tourism Authority, and existing Tourism Board officials to discuss among other things, the status of proposed hotel developments in Bermuda.
In a statement released yesterday evening. Mr Crockwell said the Park Hyatt project agreement with the developer was terminated by the previous Government.
I can confirm that the previous Government did, in September 2012, send a letter to the developer advising that the terms of the contract between the Government and the developer had been breached. The developer was given 30 days to cure the breach, according to the terms of the contract, but failed to do so. Therefore, in October, 2012 the contract was officially terminated, he said.
The Minister said many aspects of the contract termination could not be discussed publicly for legal reasons, adding: I would ask that the Bermuda public, especially St Georges residents, remain patient whilst we assess the current state of affairs in relation to the Park Hyatt development and formulate a plan to move forward. There was also an Act passed in Parliament the Park Hyatt Act that must be addressed when the House resumes in February before any further action can be taken in relation to developing the site.
Mr Crockwell said one of his priorities was to work with developers and financiers to find a solution for the property as a matter of urgency.
The news that the former PLP Government terminated the agreement with Bazarian before the December election was only confirmed on Sunday night when Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said the termination was a result of their (the Bazarian group) failure to commence the development of the property within the time frame outlined in the agreement.
In a statement Mr Furbert said: "It was the PLP Governments desire to have a hotel in St George's. We were strongly committed to such a degree that we commissioned a report which showed the cost implications and possible revenue for a 5 Star Convention and leisure hotel on that site. It was our plan to hit the road running early in 2013 to meet developers and give a presentation. The presentation is at the Ministry of Tourism and we hope that Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell uses it to move things ahead.
OBA chairman Thad Hollis said that last September, Mr Furbert had let slip during an interview with ZBM news that the agreement with the Club Med, or Park Hyatt, has terminated and said Government was looking at its options.
Mr Furbert later recanted the statement, affirming Governments commitment to a hotel in St Georges in advance of a trip to the Island by Mr Bazarian and associates.
The day after, he said hed intended to say that the time period for the agreement has expired, and that the agreement has lapsed.
In response, Mr Hollis last night suggested the former Minister had been electioneering.
He said: It would be very easy to make the assumption from these statements that Mr Furbert told the truth in the first place, and that his colleagues in the Government, knowing an election was to be held in December, selected the option of misleading the Bermudian public, lest the news harm the fortunes of their candidates in St Georges.
In response, Mr Furbert told The Royal Gazette: It had not been terminated at the time that I mentioned it.
l See further story in todays business section, Page 17
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