(iwnsvg) – Sandals Resort International is paying about US$17.5 million (about EC$47 million) for the former Buccament Bay Resort as well as additional land in the area, including those that the state is taking from farmers and selling to the resort.
This is according to information revealed by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on NBC Radio on Wednesday.
“… Sandals has already sent their 10%; they’ve already sent the 10% — US$1.75 million; I think the number is. They have sent that already; that’s already in the accounts of the government,” Gonsalves said.
The government has acquired the resort, which has been closed since December 2016 amidst financial problems, and will be selling it to Sandals.
The government and Sandals last month signed a deal for the sale of the resort, which has been the subject of legal proceedings since it was closed.
Several attempts to woo investors to the project ended in failure.
The prime minister said that his government will ask Parliament during today’s meeting to approve EC$36 million “for the acquisition and purchase of lands — the 40 acre footprint for Sandals, plus other land which we had acquired close to it — adjacent to it”.
He said the efforts of his government “to get that land together, for us to acquire and also now to buy additional land is just absolutely incredible work”.
The Prime Minister said that his government is paying “slightly less” for the resort, exclusive of the additional lands, than the liquidators was selling to the Kelly Glass group for.
Vincentians Barry Ferdinand and Kelly Glass along with Scotsman Jonathan Mills had formed a group and were in advanced talks with KPMG, the liquidators, and the government for acquisition of the failed resort before the negotiations collapsed late last year.
Gonsalves said that the section of the resort that was formerly owned by Harlequin had a footprint of about 27 acres of land.
“Sandals say we need a footprint of 40 acres because they’re doing a big water theme park for the the Beaches, for that particular brand — the family brand.
“We’ll pay a price for that, somewhat less than what they were selling to the Kelly Glass group for because when that deal broke down we’re the only show in town. Matters were dragging on,” the prime minister said.
He said that his government has also negotiated “a very good price” with the owners of the 51 cabanas and the apartments in the tower block at the resort.
He also noted that a part of the resort was on lands owned by Bernard Punnett.
“There was piece of the property with Harlequin was Bernard land and they were working out the arrangements. But the footprint for the 40 acres needs a little bit more there,” Gonsalves said, adding, “So we have agreed to about six acres from Bernard Punnett…”