Morgan’s Point: first phase announced
Morgan's Point Ltd chief executive officer Craig Christensen is convinced that the hotel planned for the property will go ahead.
The company yesterday announced details of the first phase of development, which includes the building of an “ultra high-end” 84-room hotel, a marina with 77 slips and 149 residencies. The project is pending planning permission in June.
When asked whether he had any doubts it would go ahead, the businessman replied: “No.”
“Groundbreaking is due to begin in June,” he added. “That is our schedule so that is what it will be unless something unforeseen happens, but we want this to go ahead quickly.”
There is pressure to get at least part of the project completed for the America's Cup, which takes place in Bermuda in June 2017.
Asked whether Morgan's Point Ltd was prioritising any parts of the project to be completed by that date, he said: “I don't see one element being prioritised, per se, over the other — everything really needs to go up together.
“So maybe the hotel would go up with some residencies, perhaps 35 out of the 149. We are looking at currently determining what we can do efficiently to try to have some impact and get some benefit out of America's Cup.”
Morgan's Point Ltd has submitted an environmental impact study to Government and to environmental charity the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST).
The study — which is being reviewed — looks into the traffic impact of the development, and includes marine studies on the bays surrounding the site and a discussion of the economic impact or benefit for Bermuda.
Mr Christensen said: “We brought in foreshore and coastal experts from Smith Warner to help with the study.
“Morgan's Point doesn't have a tremendous amount of natural shoreline, so we have to look at how best to protect the shoreline and enhance it because it is a brown field site.
“We have to do studies of plant material, the impact of the marina etc and provide all the supporting documentation.
“We have had initial feedback from BEST prior to us submitting the scoping documents and we took those comments on board.
“There are always questions about how are you going to manage this or that, but they have been very helpful and supportive.”
Although BEST said it was too soon to make a substantive comment on the study, chairman Stuart Hayward told The Royal Gazette: “We can say that MPR's engagement in the process of impact assessment is a good sign.
“We trust they will cast their consultation net wide to include other NGOs, particularly the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society.
“We do have a concern that Morgan's Point have chosen a fragmented approach to environmental impact assessment.
“We are very aware that some aspects of the development may aggravate the environmental impact in other areas of the property.
“Initially, we will have to depend on planning and the Development Applications Board to ensure that a piecemeal assessment approach does not result in avoidable injury to the environment.”
The study is with the Department of Planning for review and approval.
Others involved in the preparation of the study included architectural firm Cooper Garden and US-based SB Architects. Mr Christensen said that going forward, “developers have been diligent in their desire to keep the impact of the project to a minimum and to be as environmentally sensitive as possible.”
Water conservation, insulation, and solar and geothermal energy are some of the practices under consideration.
“The hotel is being newly built so we can put through a lot more energy efficiencies than if it was a retro fit,” he said. “We are looking at geothermal for cooling and solar is particularly; y helpful in heating of water — that is probably the best efficiency. We have a lot of plunge pools so we are looking at all of that.”
As for jobs for Bermudians, Mr Christensen said: “We are currently reviewing that whole make-up so I don't have anything further to add at this point other than there will be jobs availability at Morgan's Point.”