Developers plan new hotel on Munro Beach Cottages site
Plans are being drawn up to develop a new hotel in Southampton, it has emerged.Moongate Resorts, owned by developer Kevin Petty of the Newstead Belmont Hills Resort, has partnered with a Boston investment firm to develop the five-acre property, Munro Beach Cottages, near Port Royal Golf Course.Yesterday, Clarence Hofheins, Managing Director of Newstead, said the company was drawing up plans with architects Conyers Associates.The Munro Beach Cottages development was first announced on Friday in the House of Assembly, when Minister Derrick Burgess named it as one of five properties expected to open by 2013.Mr. Burgess, who delivered the Ministry of Tourism's budget brief in the absence of Premier Ewart Brown, said the new developments would result in Bermuda's hotel inventory increasing by 20 within three years.He said: "Tucked away at Whitney's Bay in Southampton, the current nine buildings on the five acre site at Munro Beach will be transformed into 26 two-bedroom hotel suites spread over 14 buildings."The development will also include a pool, restaurant, a beach and sunbathing decks."Munro Bay was closed in 2007. At the time it had 17 tourism units.The plan is to demolish the existing structures and build new ones in their place.Despite 2009 seeing the worst air arrivals in 30 years and hotel occupancy averaging 51 percent, Mr. Hofheins said his company had a positive outlook."We believe in Bermuda," he said. "And we believe Bermuda will come back. This is the time to start moving forward."It is a great time to move forward in our opinion, construction companies are hungry for work. And we want to be the first ones out of the gate when things pick up."Moongate Resorts is working with the Boston firm Crossharbour Capital and the firm's website said: "Through our affiliated funds, we invest in a wide variety of opportunistic and value-oriented commercial real estate transactions where the conditions exist for compelling absolute returns over a short and medium duration."Munro Beach Cottages was one of five projects the Minister named on Friday, including the old Lantana property, which closed in 1998. Mr. Hofheins said Moongate Resorts was working with the owners of that property as well.On Friday Mr. Burgess said: "Our projection is that in 2013 upon completion of a number of the current projects: Coco Reef, Park Hyatt, Lantana, Munro, and Stonehaven Hotel, the hotel inventory will increase by 20 percent which will bring the inventory level back to the year 2000 number."He said that many of the projects were in "due diligence and planning stages" some were already busy clearing sites, including the preparation work currently underway at Grand Atlantic Hotel, along South Road, in Warwick.At the Lantana site, near Somerset Bridge, work is also underway. "The development plans will be announced to the public by the developer within the next few months," Mr. Burgess said. The Park Hyatt, on the former Club Med site, is also expected to be built by 2013. Mr. Burgess said the $160 million development would consist of 100 hotel rooms, 30 fractional units, approximately 111 residences, a spa, a beach club and an 18-hole Nick Faldo golf course.He also highlighted the Stonehaven hotel, on the site of the former New Canadian Hotel, on the corner of Court Street and Reid Street, as another project expected to be completed by 2013."Therefore, it is significant to Tourism sustainability that we collaborate with industry partners to prepare our island for the increase in inventory in 2013," he said.Opposition spokesman for tourism Senator Michael Dunkley last night welcomed the news of Munro Beach."Mr. Hofheins logic that we need to be in a position to capitalise on the rebound and they and their partners are wise to position themselves accordingly," he said.But he said Bermuda needed to change the way tourism was run on the Island in order to better position itself for the future, particularly the way it is marketed."We must end the awarding of no bid contracts for marketing and promotion in the department worth millions that have to date yielded very little in the way of results,"he said. [EnDash]"We must cut out funding for events that have not produced "heads in beds" but instead been a burden on the taxpayer and parties for friends."A good first step would be to, like some of our competitors to the south, structure a Tourism Authority which can go a long way to taking the politics out of tourism and instead build a strong effective partnership between all stakeholders."
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