Burt: ‘Continuing to work to redevelop Fairmont’
Efforts to secure the refurbishment of the island’s largest hotel, closed since last October, remain in the pipeline according to David Burt, the Premier.
Mr Burt closed this week’s Covid-19 press conference by thanking the Fairmont Southampton resort for opening its premises as one of the Government’s mandatory quarantine centres for unvaccinated travellers.
He added: “What we are looking for the Fairmont Southampton to do is to redevelop, and we are continuing to work with that.”
The closure, in which about 750 staff were laid off, was announced by the resort’s management in September 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic and the island’s lockdown shut down tourism.
Westend Properties, a subsidiary of US-based Gencom and the owner of the property, announced plans for a $180 million refurbishment of the South Shore hotel over the course of 18 months.
But early this year the firm continued attempting to raise financing for the project.
Repeated requests for updates from Gencom, which bought the landmark hotel in 2019, have gone unanswered.
Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, told The Royal Gazette he anticipated an update from Gencom last month – but there was no response to requests to the ministry on whether financing had been secured.
The only indication of activity at the resort came in a social media post this month from a US national purportedly linked to an unnamed company said to be carrying out the refurbishment.
A post under the name of Tracy Perez Frazee of Florida stated: “Our family owns the company that will be renovating the Fairmont Southampton.
“My husband will be running the project, and we will be moving to Bermuda from Florida for the duration of the project.”
But a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Finance said the Government was “not aware of any of the details on the hiring of a contractor to lead the redevelopment project at Fairmont Southampton”.
Opened in 1972, the hotel, with 600 rooms, accounted for a substantial portion of Bermuda’s air arrivals.