BARBADOS Prime Minister Mia Mottley said last week she expects construction work to start on the long-delayed Hyatt hotel in Bridgetown in May, a year after it was originally scheduled to open.
Plans for the proposed Hyatt which had an original start date of 2016 to open in 2019 under the brand Hyatt Centric, had since been changed to have more rooms and condominiums and it will now carry the brand name Hyatt Ziva, Barbados Today reported.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley made the announcement as she outlined a number of projects she was hoping to get started or fast-tracked so that the economy would not experience any major fallout from unemployment as a result of the threatening COVID-19.
In addition, Mottley said authorities are hoping that a number of private sector projects will pick up pace in coming months, and the agriculture sector would get renewed life.
Mottley said following meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of March, she was hoping to get a “relaxation” on the targets under the four-year Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme, and a stand-by “precautionary” financing facility.
This, Barbados Today reported, would allow her 22-month-old administration to “move quicker” on other capital projects, including road works, that would have otherwise not been accommodated.
“These are things we wanted to do long time but we could only inch [along] because of the fiscal space that we have. Hopefully, this will give us an opportunity now to do other things,” said Mottley.
“The Hyatt is likely to start within this period. In fact, the earthwork should start within the next two months or so including the destruction of the building,” Mottley announced.
The controversial Hyatt project, which is expected to cost over US$100 million, had been on hold for several years after the developers came up against strong objections.
In addition to the Hyatt, Mottley said there were several others, some of which have already started.
She singled out the planned refurbishment of the golf course and building of new villas at Apes Hill Polo Club, and the old Caribee Hotel, which is to be taken over by an Indigo hotel brand, saying the town planning process was completed and they are “almost ready” to start.
She also reported that permission had been granted for the construction of the planned Royalton Sunwing hotel brand on the site of the old Discovery Bay Hotel, adding that “they are hoping to start by June”.
Mottley said the Crane Hotel in St Philip had already started its upgrade with another 50 rooms, and the Wyndham Grand Sam Lord’s Castle project in the same parish, had two-thirds more of the building to be completed.
In addition, Sandals Barbados was adding another 66 rooms that should be completed by November this year, and Sagicor’s senior living community The Estates at St George, should see increased construction activities in late April.
At the same time, Mottley announced that Government’s housing programme was “likely” to get off the ground fully in the next three months.
She said Government had identified an initial 1,580 house lots and there will be another 200 acres from “planning gains”.
Stating that the land space for housing did not cost Government, Mottley said the intention was to “cap the land prices” particularly for those who are earning $4,000 or less in the public and private sector.
“We are now working with the banks and financial institutions for the kinds of mortgages,” said Mottley.
“We have a significant amount of projects to keep economic activity in this country going,” she said.
Mottley said she was not only relying on the construction sector for that economic activity, citing the agriculture sector as another area where projects have been identified,