Tax concessions approved to revamp hotels
Almost $15 million of tax concessions have been approved by the House of Assembly to allow the redevelopment of two hotel sites.
A total of $11.8 million in concessions for the Elbow Beach Hotel were approved to support a $38 million redevelopment, including the reopening of the main hotel building.
Meanwhile, another $2.5 million on concessions were approved for the former Surf Side hotel complex to support a proposed $35 million revamp.
Detailing the redevelopment plans and the concessions, Kenneth Bascome, the Junior Minister of Tourism, said that both projects would result in additional jobs for Bermudians and hotel beds in time for the America's Cup in 2017.
Regarding Elbow Beach, Mr Bascome said that the hotel owner had lost millions of dollars in the resort over the years and had considered closing the site.
However, with the concessions, the hotel owner seeks to invest more than $38 million in the site, opening 68 luxury suites inside the main hotel building along with reopening the hotel lobby and main hotel restaurant. The project would also include refurbishing the 102 existing rooms on the property.
Mr Bascome said that the suites would be created by bringing together and refurbishing guest rooms in the hotel building, which was closed in 2010. Work is hoped to be completed before next June when the America's Cup takes place on the island.
In addition to construction and design jobs associated with the redevelopment project, he said the renovations would create 30 hotel jobs for Bermudians.
In the case of the Surf Side Beach Club, the property closed last year due to the downturn in the economy and difficulty finding investors. However, Mr Bascome said that Bermudian developer John Bush III is interested in upgrading and redeveloping the Warwick site to create a new luxury residential hotel property — Azura Bermuda.
Mr Bascome said that Mr Bush has made a commitment to invest $20 million in the acquisition of the property and the first phase of development, and the second phase is expected to cost between $13 and $16 million.
“The developer has redevelopment plans that will add 12 new suites and six new hotel residences that will potentially increase the Azura Hotel capacity to 69 keys, or 138 people with the potential for more as the configuration of the suites are either studio, one, two or three bedrooms,” he said.
The first phase of development, hoped to be completed in time for the America's Cup next summer, will include converting the old rooms and readying new rooms to create a 48-room hotel, with further rooms being added in a second phase of development.