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Horseshoe Bay café revamp plan gets the thumbs down

Plans for a $3.8 million redevelopment of the beachside café at Horseshoe Bay have been rejected by the Department of Planning.

And now it appears that the revamped facility may not be ready in time for the 2022 tourist season, as planned.

The concessionaires, Horseshoe Bay Live, submitted plans in September, ten months after being announced by government as the new operators of the iconic site, effective April 1.

But planners have rejected HBL’s application, citing a missed deadline and an incomplete file, and said they must now create a new submission with all relevant plans and supporting information.

Announcing HBL as the winning bidders for the operation of the Southampton beachside property last November, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, said that a $3.8 million redevelopment project, funded by the leaseholders, would begin last month to revamp the facility in time for next year’s tourist season.

But with no approved plans in place, the prospect of the building being ready by April appears slim.

The winning HBL team consisted of Bermudian entrepreneurs Delton Ebbin, Carl Vincent and Devon Simons.

But Mr Vincent told The Royal Gazette earlier this year that he was no longer involved with the project, and now it appears that Mr Simons may have bowed out.

Replying to a query from planners, Kristina Graham-Ward, of architectural firm Brick Verde, said that the applicant for the rejected plan was Mr Ebbin — and added that “Mr Ebbin and Mr [Tulani] Bulford are business partners, owners of HBL”.

The application proposed additions and renovations to the existing facilities at the western side of the Southampton beach to create a three-storey, mixed-use commercial building.

The ground floor would contain a new lobby, restaurant and bar with patios, kitchen, retail shop and takeout restaurant in addition to staff quarters, storage areas, bathrooms, a beach equipment and furniture rental shop and a break room for lifeguards.

The building’s first floor would include a new restaurant and balcony with a bar and entertainment space, along with a kitchen and offices.

The top floor would feature a bar and lounge, along with roof deck balconies, bathrooms and storage spaces.

At a press conference in November last year, Colonel Burch said that the ministry received proposals from 16 groups for the operation of the beachside café.

Eight were shortlisted and invited to make presentations, which were scored by a six-person panel representing the public works ministry, the parks department and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Colonel Burch said that the panel’s criteria included: services to be provided, awareness of beach tourism trends, proposed redevelopment design, financial capability, ability to complete within time frame, management ability for beach rentals, environmentally friendly and sustainable services, local employment and visitor benefits.

The public works minister said the eight shortlisted applicants were then narrowed down to the two with the highest scores, each of which estimated a capital investment of approximately $3.8 million to redevelop the site.

He said HBL would be granted a five-year lease with a tenant option to renew for a further five or ten years, subject to agreement of lease provisions.

Lease terms were not disclosed.

Delton Ebbin, second from right, of Horseshoe Bay Live, with Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Carl Vincent and Rai Simons at last November’s press conference (File photograph)

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Published December 08, 2021 at 7:50 am (Updated December 09, 2021 at 7:58 am)

Horseshoe Bay café revamp plan gets the thumbs down

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