More than 20 express interest in Grand Lucayan Resort purchase

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – More than 20 persons have expressed an interest in the purchase of the Grand Lucayan Resort in Grand Bahama, and the Government is hopeful that the resort will be sold by the second quarter of next year, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar revealed on Friday.

“We have hired a company called Colliers to manage the process for us to go out to market and get the proposals in [and] to sift through them and to make a recommendation to the government on which one we should accept,” D’Aguilar said while releasing tourism numbers at the Hilton Hotel. He added that some 11 or 12 persons have signed non-disclosure agreements to obtain information about the hotel.

“They are accessing the data rooms. It’s a very open and transparent process,” he said.

The government purchased the Grand Lucayan Resort for $65 million, paying $30 million up-front.

A resolution was passed in the House of Assembly for the government to borrow the balance from Hutchison Lucaya Limited and Bahama Reef Limited to facilitate the purchase.

The sale of the Resort was executed on September 11.

The sale included 405 acres of land; seven buildings containing 7 million square feet of space; 1,271 rooms and suites; 19 restaurants and lounges; 15 meeting rooms; 45,000 square feet of meeting space; three pools; an 18-hole golf course; a casino; a spa; and a fitness centre.

D’Aguilar also explained that voluntary separation packages for previous employees of the resort have not been distributed as yet because they are still getting funding in place and negotiations are ongoing.

“On a specific date [for the distribution of voluntary packages] I have not been advised as yet. I don’t know the specific amount as yet, because I think they are negotiating the number of people who [will] go,” D’Aguilar said. “Some may have decided to go but we need them because they are critical employees. All of that is being worked out, so the absolute and final number I don’t know as yet.”

Meanwhile the tourism minister said the government and the Ministry of Tourism are focusing its efforts on the rebranding and revitalization of Grand Bahama’s tourism industry.

“The government recently purchased the Grand Lucayan Resort with the intention of securing its future return to the local economy,” D’Aguilar said.

And while some have frowned on the government’s decision to purchase the Grand Lucayan Resort, D’Aguilar said the government is moving forward to make provisions for its future.

Michael Scott was appointed chairman of the special purpose vehicle charged with finding a buyer for the resort.