Morgan’s Point: Jobs will indeed be generated
Morgan’s Point developer Craig Christensen last night said he could not promise construction jobs for Bermudians once building work on a hotel, multiple residential units and a mega yacht marina project got under way.
He was answering questions about the Southampton site during a packed public forum at Dalton E Tucker school. The more than 200 attendees who turned out for the presentation saw aerial view renderings of the proposed development and images of similar projects in the Caribbean.
The site plan shows there will be a channel of water between the end of the peninsula and its tip, producing an island.
Morgan’s Point originally included two islands, Tucker’s Island and Morgan’s Island, which were merged and joined on to the main Island of Bermuda. Beaches will be enhanced and new ones created along the shore line.
Mr Christensen was there to unveil the first phase of the project, along with Roland Bates, executive vice president of Southworth Development, who are project advisers, and architect and planner Lane Pettigrew of LP Architects, who specialise in Caribbean residential and resort architecture.
Julia van Beelen of Cooper Gardner architects was also a member of the panel. A second Morgan’s Point partner, Nelson Hunt, was in the audience, while the third member was reinsurance executive Brian Duperreault.
The audience learned that remedial work required to restore the land after the US military, the former occupant of the site, had left behind oil, sewage and jet fuel, had been a less onerous task than had been expected, and that work was now largely complete.
Plans for the first phase of the project, which will include the 84-room boutique hotel and 35 residential units out of a planned total of 147, will begin going to the Planning Department next month, while the construction phase is expected to be mostly completed by the beginning of 2017, in time for the America’s Cup.
“Our biggest obstacle is time,” said Mr Christensen. “We’re trying to get this thing moving as rapidly as possible.”
Mr Christensen said the developers had initially set aside the western end of the property for a role for in the sailing race, but Government had opted instead for a Dockyard site for the race headquarters. They now hope to have at least a portion of phase two of the project completed in time for the event.
The development team also want gaming at the resort, added Mr Christensen.
“Yes, we are seriously looking at it,” he said. “Yes, we believe we qualify, and yes, we are going to try to do it.”
Mr Christensen would not officially reveal the name of the brand that will be operating the hotel, calling it the “worst kept secret in Bermuda”, explaining that he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.
Finance Minister Bob Richards announced in December in the House of Assembly that Morgan’s Point Ltd had secured the Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand to operate the resort, which he called the highest end of the Ritz-Carlton hospitality brand.
Answering a question about the troubled Tucker’s Point resort and why the Morgan’s Point development was different, Mr Christensen said it was in the way the project had been financed. He pointed to support for the project from the international business sector. “We really thank them for that,” he said.
There were many questions about the employment of Bermudians on the site.
“Morgan’s Point will have who can do the job for the best price,” he said. “Putting percentages on to things is ultimately dangerous.”
He said: “We’re focused on getting this done so we can create opportunities for people. We want to see Bermudians benefit.”