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Michael MacLean:The man leading the waterfront redevelopment project

When construction boss Michael MacLean was selected as the general contractor for the Par-la-Ville hotel project, he had no idea he would end up being lead developer for the hotel as well as the waterfront redevelopment project.

Ted Adams had spent several years on the hotel project but was unable to raise the necessary seed financing.

Mr MacLean bought some preferred shares in Par-la-Ville Hotels and Residences to secure a stake in what he felt was a promising investment. The investment was critical in keeping the project alive, and once the financiers became aware of his role, they insisted he take over the lead role from Mr Adams.

Mr MacLean, 38, then set about negotiating with Mr Adams and ended up with an 80 percent share of the company last summer.

Plans for a hotel at the Par-la-Ville were first announced in 2007 with Ritz Carlton attached. Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which owns the luxury St Regis brand, was named as a new partner in 2009 when it was stated the hotel would open in 2013.

Mr MacLean was encouraged by the hotel project financiers to submit a proposal to redevelop the waterfront when that opportunity came up last fall.

But he had initially expected to be part of a team led by former Sir John Swan who had for years been the Island’s most vocal advocate for redeveloping the waterfront.

Sjur Linberg, who had won Sir John Swan’s waterfront design competition several years ago and was also involved in the St Regis project, was Mr MacLean’s first stop.

Mr Linberg said his loyalties were with Sir John who should be brought on board first.

But Sir John declined Mr Maclean’s approach, and Mr Linberg said he could not be involved if Sir John wasn’t interested.

That led Mr MacLean to Ted Wood of Botelho Wood Architects who agreed to come on board.

He set about putting the rest of the team together and changed the name of one of his companies, M&M Carpentry, to Allied Development Partners — saving the time it would have taken to form a completely new company.

Seven other teams responded to the RFP and Allied’s proposal was shortlisted with two others. The Corporation of Hamilton did not send out any project specification documents, he said.

“For most people that resubmitted stuff it wasn’t a new project,” Mr MacLean said. “This has been around a lot of times and there was a lot of people that could have just pulled their stuff off the shelf and dusted it off as it were.”

The Corporation met with Allied Development Partners and eventually they were told if they could deliver financing that they would be awarded the contract.

Mr MacLean had a good working relationship with City Hall long before the waterfront project came along and had completed several projects for the City over the years.

But the waterfront redevelopment is Bermuda’s biggest project ever and is expected to take decades to complete.

“If anyone wants to come along and take the risk of any one of its components, we’re open to talk,” he said.

“There are people who have been working on the waterfront a lot longer and they might have better answers.”

Mr MacLean came to the Island from his native Jamaica with his mother at six years old. He started working “as soon as I knew what work was”, he says and ended up with a successful career in the construction industry.

At 22, Mr MacLean was a foreman with D & J Construction, one of the Island’s leading construction companies at the time.

He started M & M Construction with money saved while working at D & J, and a bank loan.

“I can say that people have helped me but I can’t give credit to anyone else for what I have because nobody gave me anything,” he told

The Royal Gazette.

“All that I have worked for — I can’t say I don’t deserve it. I’ve worked damn hard for it and if the hotel and the waterfront are projects that I am meant to build, I’m going to build them.”

Michael MacLean (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published April 02, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 02, 2013 at 12:10 am)

Michael MacLean:The man leading the waterfront redevelopment project

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