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Douglas visits to submit Ariel Sands plans

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Hollywood star Michael Douglas is on the Island and has submitted completed plans for Ariel Sands' redevelopment, saying that work could begin as soon as September.

The project already has planning approval to build a wall to protect the beach and stabilise the land behind it, and the bid to construct this is being put out.

The final plans, submitted to the Department of Planning, are a slightly scaled down version of the ones released in November last year.

Those were unveiled by the actor as he announced the beginning of the redevelopment of the property, which has been in his family since the 1840s.

There will be 26 villas rather than the 33 previously announced, with 20 rooms in the main hotel building. The villas will be a mix of two and three-bedroom, self-contained apartments with facilities such as washer dryers, bathrooms for each bed, and kitchens.

There will be two restaurants — one in the main building and one in the beach club, and both will be accessible to the general public.

Other facilities include a spa, gym, salon and children's entertainment zone.

Mr Douglas told The Royal Gazette: “The plans have been refined substantially since we made our initial announcement and we have spent an exorbitant amount of time to get it right.

“Sometimes plans are submitted in part but this is complete.

“One of the big attractions is the salt water pool and we are working on a very attractive beachfront restaurant with outdoor terraces that encompass our pools and look over our beach. It should be an exciting place. There are not that many places that have beachfront restaurants in Bermuda.”

The plans will be advertised in the media and on Government's website for two weeks, following protocol.

Mr Douglas is here with his business partner, Seth Weinstein, of New York-based Olympic Property Partners.

Mr Weinstein said that the demolition of existing buildings was almost complete and the next phase would be preparing for construction.

“We are going to begin construction on the beach and the beach wall in June or July and the rest of the construction hopefully in September,” he said.

“From June to July we will start doing a lot of the site work — we will start cutting in the roads and levelling the site to prepare it appropriately so when we start going vertical in September, we will be able to build very quickly. We need to work quickly because we want to be open for the America's Cup and that only gives us about 16 months to 18 months to build.”

No decisions have been made on which construction companies will be employed if planning is approved, or whether they will be Bermudian. Mr Douglas said that more than one construction firm may be needed to complete the work on time.

Meetings have been held with local residents as well as environmental groups to discuss the hotel's impact. According to Mr Weinstein, no objections to the plans have been raised so far. The villas will also be available for sale to Bermudians and non-Bermudians, who can rent them out through an international reservation and marketing group.

Mr Weinstein added: “We have had a lot of interest — you can imagine with Michael involved. A lot of people have come to us.

“We have not prepared our sales materials so we can't formally sell product yet but we are compiling a list of interested parties and we've got a very good response so far.”

Michael Douglas and hotel developer Seth Weinstein discuss the plans for Ariel Sands during a visit to the property this week (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Actor Michael Douglas described the plans as 'exciting' (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
The interior of one of the three-bed villas planned for Ariel Sands (Image supplied)
Work is under way demolishing buildings at the site (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Ariel Sands' beach will be transformed, and will feature a beachfront restaurant and outdoor terraces (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)

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Published April 24, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated April 24, 2015 at 7:28 pm)

Douglas visits to submit Ariel Sands plans

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