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Work on St George’s hotel to begin in May

Minister of Tourism and Transport, Shawn Crockwell, has revealed developer Desarrollos has been chosen for a five-star St Regis resort in the East End. (File photo by Akil Simmons)

Developers Desarrollos Hotelco Group have been chosen for a five-star St Regis, Starwood hotels resort to be developed in St George’s, starting next May.

Phase one of the development will cost $120 million, according to Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell, and will include 122 rooms and eight residences.

Phase two will deliver “four large estate villas and 22 golf villas”, Mr Crockwell told MPs yesterday, with Opposition members questioning why so little could be gleaned online about the developers.

Mr Crockwell called Desarrollos a family business, adding that they had completed due diligence. He said there would be an appropriate press conference on their plans at the groundbreaking stage.

The Venezuelan developers, who had an exclusive negotiating period to put a resort on the old Club Med site, saw that period extended in October. It would have expired today.

Construction should begin in May and take 16 months.

The group supports having a casino at the site, but the final decision to licence it would lie with a Commission.

The Minister hailed the news as a “significant vote of confidence” confirming efforts by Government and the Bermuda Tourism Authority to secure “direct long term inward investment and permanent jobs”.

“This luxury resort development will be a tremendous positive impact to our Island and we are moving quickly toward finalising the customary agreements,” he said.

Mr Crockwell ascribed the delay to Desarrollos assembling its “critical path items” for pre-development, development and operation, as well as settling the brand agreement with a selected hotel operator.

Yesterday’s eleventh-hour announcement for the long vacant brownfield site in St George’s was the biggest step since Mr Crockwell declared in May that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed with the group.

The Progressive Labour Party has voiced scepticism about the reputability of Desarrollos during debates in recent months.

The Minister hinted that the developers were currently in the process of creating a website that might answer questions.

The initial proposal was for a 238-room hotel including a casino, the renovation of the St George’s Golf Course, 16 hotel residences, 24 golf villas and 16 estate residences.