Firm behind Horseshoe Bay concession say plans are going ‘full steam ahead’
Plans for a multimillion dollar revamp of the concession at Horseshoe Bay Beach will still go ahead, despite being hit by delays.
Delton Ebbin of Horseshoe Bay Live, which has a five year lease of facilities at the iconic Southampton beach, confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic had hampered progress on redevelopment – but that work would soon get under way.
HBL was awarded the contract to run the concession in 2020. The company planned to spend almost $4 million upgrading the facility, and work was expected to be complete by this year’s tourism season.
Mr Ebbin said: “There have been delays because of Covid. Just like everywhere else in the world, the Government has had to deal with that. After we won the concession the country went into lockdown three times almost straight away. So things have been pushed back for whatever reason.
“We’ve had a great working relationship with the Government but Covid has affected everything.
“We still have plans to revamp and upgrade the facilities here. We’ve done everything that we’ve had to do for things to go ahead. Now we’re just waiting on the Government to get back to us. It’s all in the Government’s hands. Plans have been submitted. We’re just waiting.
“We’re still full-steam ahead – we’re trying to make Bermuda a world-class venue. But even for us, if we wanted to start tomorrow, we’re faced with problems such as supply chain issues, bringing in supplies, bringing in equipment. With a capital project of this magnitude, there’s a lot to consider.”
Mr Ebbin was tight-lipped on what upgrades were planned, or if a new timeline had been set.
But he said some improvements could be implemented in the coming months.
“We have plans for this season but that won’t mean we’ll have to close down at any point,” he said.
Mr Ebbin, a veteran of the hospitality industry, said the goal was to provide a luxury experience to guests that incorporated technology to allow delivery on the beach.
He said that Bermuda needed to attract high-end visitors – and needed the facilities to match.
He also praised the Government for securing a deal for the redevelopment of the neighbouring Fairmont Southampton resort.
He said: “If Fairmont Southampton’s plans go through I think it’s going to put Bermuda in a good position. We just need more hotels – and more forward thinkers.
“The political class is doing what they’re supposed to do, but we need the business side of the community to step up in order to change Bermuda.
“Obviously the people behind the Fairmont Southampton have faith in the Government if they’re willing to put in all that investment.
“That hotel has been up for sale for ten years and these guys are the first people to come in and say ‘okay, let’s do this’. I think it needs to be supported 100 per cent as it’s the most important thing for the island right now in terms of tourism.
“It’s going to bring in the type of tourist that we need. We need people coming here who are willing to spend $1,000 a night on accommodation.
“But the product has to match the customer, not the other way around. What’s happening is, the people who have got the money are going to the upscale hotels like The Loren and Tucker’s Point – because they can match the standard that the customer expects.
“We need to raise our game and raise the standard, which is what we’re trying to do at Horseshoe. We need to make Bermuda great again.”
Although HBL is now running facilities at Horseshoe, last month the Government issued a Request for Proposal for a second concession to operate at the beach.
Mr Ebbin said he was not informed of the move, and did not know where a second concession would be located.
He said: “We still have the concession – nothing has changed with us. The RFP sent out last month has nothing to do with the regular concession.
“We’re in the same position as we’ve always been and didn’t know anything about the new RFP – we read it in The Royal Gazette. All we know is that it has nothing to do with us. We’ve got questions too but we haven’t had a chance to speak to government yet.”
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