Developer: Hotel project still in the works
Michael MacClean cannot confirm Russian billionaire is backing waterfront project
By Ayo Johnson
Plans to build a hotel in Hamilton are still on the boil, according to developer Michael MacClean.
But the waterfront redevelopment project has ground to a screeching halt as the relationship between Government and the Corporation of Hamilton continues to sour and City Hall is facing an investigation by the Ombudsman.
Mr MacClean is the key figure for both projects. He is now the principal and sole director of Par-la-Ville Hotels and Residences Ltd, the company behind the hotel project, having bought out most of US based Ted Adams’ shareholdings last summer.
His company Allied Development Partners, formerly M&M Carpentry, also won the bid for the waterfront project.
“We’re moving forward, we’re trying to finalise some of the last bit of details in our financial structure,” he told
The Royal Gazette when asked about the city hotel project.
Meanwhile Economic Development Minister Grant Gibbons has confirmed that Government is working to provide the necessary approvals for the project.
“Government is working with the developers in regard to the consents required to progress The Par-La-Ville Hotel project. We believe the development has good potential to create jobs and enhance Bermuda’s overall hotel product,” Dr Gibbons said.
And the Island’s energy utility, Belco, said the hotel has been factored into its infrastructure expansion plans.
Ducts put in trenches dug on Par-la-Ville Road will allow for “future growth, including the proposed hotel”, said a spokesperson.
Mr MacClean could not say when the project would break ground or give any other milestones.
“I wouldn’t put a timeline on it, there’s so many moving parts,” he said.
“Achieving the first drawdown [of funds] is what we’re working toward now.”
Both projects share the same financiers.
Mr MacClean said the financiers asked him to bid on the waterfront project when the opportunity presented itself.
He would not reveal the identity of the financiers and said he could not confirm reports that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is involved.
“I cannot say personally whether or not he is an investor,” Mr MacClean said. “I would never know unless he makes it known.”
Mr Abramovich made headlines in Bermuda when his $1.5 billion yacht
Eclipse docked in Hamilton and St George’s earlier this year.
“With all that’s taken place now, the financiers have asked us to see what we can do to help make peace between the Corporation and the Government,” Mr MacClean said.
“Because there’s no real project without Government.”
Mr MacClean added that it was not clear what the differences were between Government and City Hall.
On January 28, the City held a press conference against the wishes of the new Government to announce Allied Development Partners as the selected developers.
Government warned that it would not provide the necessary approvals for the project without being fully briefed, or before it had conducted its due diligence.
The City insisted it had to go ahead because it had certain — unspecified — contractual obligations. The press conference was preceded by a presentation to stakeholders at which no questions were entertained.
Mayor Graeme Outerbridge told his audience that no lease had been signed with respect to the waterfront property. But it later emerged that a lease had in fact been signed.
Mr Maclean said the Government was right in its approach. “I think the Government is doing what a government should do although it doesn’t benefit me as developer. I understand there’s a new Government in place and they should do their due diligence.
“I would be surprised if they didn’t do their due diligence.”
Mr Maclean also welcomed an investigation by the Ombudsman saying a probe by an independent body would settle any anxiety being felt by the Government.
“Right now both parties are in a Mexican-standoff,” he said.
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