House: St Regis spending outlined
The Bermuda Government’s extra incentives for the developers of the new St Regis hotel total $2.7 million over a period of three years.
The concessions are unrelated to casino fees for the East End resort, according to Grant Gibbons, speaking for the Ministry of Tourism.
Zane DeSilva, the Opposition’s spokesman for public safety, suggested it was “rather coincidental” that the spending added up to “almost the same amount as the casino fees”, but Dr Gibbons said the infrastructural commitments helped to move the project ahead.
The minister called the concessions “small” in comparison to the ultimately $350 million to be spent by the developer on the St George’s resort, expected to open in 2020.
Government commitments range from water to roads, in tandem with agreements from Hotelco Bermuda Holdings.
“The Government’s assistance is important in the successful completion of the new hotel,” Dr Gibbons told Parliament.
“Once completed, the developers will take on the responsibility for repair and maintenance of the generator and non-public roads and, most importantly, will commence building construction activities after the current site preparation activities are concluded,”
Questions were raised by the Progressive Labour Party at the previous sitting of the House when Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, detailed the Government’s $25 million guarantee towards the bank loan for the development.
Dr Gibbons said that the infrastructural assistance had been identified “in the course of the project review”, and a supplementary agreement reached in which the Government committed to:
• Drill one extra water well at the site with a back-up generator, to a maximum cost of $650,000;
• Provide free metered water for three years following the issuing of the hotel occupancy certificate, up to $300,000 annually;
• Build and pave a new, realigned public road with public parking, up to a maximum of $850,000;
• Repair the Fort Albert and Fort Victoria access roads up to $300,000;
• Remove dumped items from the vicinity of the site’s forts.
Among Hotelco Bermuda’s commitments is an agreement to start “major excavation works” within 60 days of the road realignment completion.