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Hope on horizon for stalled Fairmont Southampton project

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The Fairmont Southampton Hotel (File photograph)

Blue chip names are prepared to invest in the redevelopment of the island’s biggest hotel, the finance minister said today.

Curtis Dickinson said Gencom, the US-based owners of the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, had met Government representatives last month with a group of investors and a draft business plan.

Mr Dickinson added: “They were in town a week and a half to two weeks ago with some investors who are interested in working with them on the redevelopment.

“We met with the prospective capital providers and had a very cordial exchange. They exchanged with us some term sheets.

“The term sheets are being reviewed by my team and we are contemplating re-engaging with Gencom and their partners in the coming weeks as we understand what’s being proposed in the term sheets and our disposition in respect of them.”

The meeting came a year after the hotel closed down in the wake of the pandemic shutdown of tourism in March last year, that put about 750 people out of work.

The pandemic also stopped an ambitious a $180 million refurbishment of the South Shore resort by Westend Properties, the Gencom subsidiary that owns the site.

The hotel was bought in 2019, but financing for the redevelopment proved difficult to secure.

The meetings last month were the first news on the property since David Burt, the Premier, said in July that Gencom was still unable to raise needed capital – although he said the owners were hopeful construction could start before the end of the year.

Mr Dickinson said that the Government was “working feverishly to try and get that done sooner rather than later – but we have to do it properly”.

He highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic had created “a very difficult environment from a capital perspective”.

Mr Dickinson explained: “Initially, when the pandemic hit, the opportunities for capital to be deployed in hotel projects internationally were fairly low.

“That has improved considerably as time has gone on.”

Mr Dickinson did not identify the investors Gencom had joined forces with.

But he added: “I’m encouraged by the meetings.

“The folks who they have brought here are quality names.

“We would have to figure out what works best for the Government in light of the contract that’s been presented.”

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Published November 02, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated November 02, 2021 at 8:00 am)

Hope on horizon for stalled Fairmont Southampton project

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