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Preparatory work at Fairmont Southampton continues

Long-term project: the Fairmont Southampton (File photograph)

Work to ready the Fairmont Southampton for renovations continued this week and the project was “proceeding according to plan”, Westend Properties said.

The company highlighted that preparation work was under way at the hotel’s beach club, and ground was also being readied at the site of an employee housing complex.

A statement explained: “The work at the Fairmont Southampton property is proceeding according to plan.

“Works to prepare for the planned renovations at the beach club and the employee housing site are ongoing.

“This critical preliminary step, including team and project mobilisation as well as demolition, must be completed before we can begin the broader construction initiatives.”

It is not clear whether the employee housing complex is being built to accommodate hotel staff who will be hired once the property reopens, or whether it is to house construction workers drafted in to help carry out the rebuild.

The statement reiterated Westend’s claim that about 200 jobs “for local talent“ will be created through the renovation of the hotel and beach club.

A special development order for “the largest construction project in Bermuda’s history” was approved by Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, last October.

The redevelopment, the extent of which was opposed by environmental groups and the Development Applications Board, will see up to 250 tourism and residential units being built on the site over several decades.

Westend Properties has insisted that work to renovate the main hotel building will be its priority.

The hotel was acquired by the investment group Gencom, to which Westend is affiliated, in 2019, but it closed its doors in September 2020 with the loss of 700 jobs.

In a statement in January, Westend said that renovation work at the main hotel complex was expected to take 20 months.

The company added that a phased reopening schedule was planned, with public spaces and half of guest rooms to be operational before the end of next year.

This week’s statement said: “As with any project of this magnitude, the funds are being released through a phased approach, over the long term.”

Although the SDO was approved by Mr Roban in principle, it has yet to be officially gazetted.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said yesterday: “As previously indicated, and reiterated on numerous occasions, the SDO has been approved.

“The order relates mainly to a phase of residential construction which is slated to take place after the redevelopment of the main hotel and the works now ongoing at the site.

“The order will be published in the Official Gazette as required under law.”

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Published April 12, 2024 at 7:54 am (Updated April 12, 2024 at 6:59 am)

Preparatory work at Fairmont Southampton continues

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