FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd. today signed a Letter of Intent with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and the ITM Group to begin exclusive negotiations for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan Resort at a price of $65 million, and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour.
The proposed joint-venture project between RCL/ITM will include the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort into a world class destination, featuring water-based family entertainment, with dining, gaming and entertainment options, and five-star hotel accommodations.
The redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour is anticipated to result in a significant increase in cruise ship arrivals, bringing approximately an additional 2 million passengers annually to Grand Bahama.
Phase one of the proposed development represents a projected $195 million investment over a 24-month period. Approximately 2,000 jobs are expected to be created in the first phase of the project.
Wednesday’s announcement follows a successful marketing campaign that attracted 62 expressions of interest and 11 letters of offer.
On Friday 22 March 2019 the Board of Directors of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd. unanimously approved a resolution to recommend to the Cabinet the sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort to RCL/ITM.
“It is my sincere hope that Bahamians, and in particular, Grand Bahamians, will take advantage of the opportunities being created not only for employment but for self-employment. I want to see young people achieving their dreams of owning a business that will serve the visiting public as well as Bahamians,” said Minister of Tourism Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar.
“The Government is doing all in its power to generate the increase in visitor traffic to Grand Bahama and it will be up to us to ensure the increase in visitor spend to churn our economy.”
Michael Bayley, President and CEO Royal Caribbean International, said the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort has tremendous potential to significantly increase tourism to Grand Bahama.
“Royal Caribbean is committed to working closely with local partners to create a transformational experience for visitors. We thank our partners at ITM and the Government of The Bahamas for their support and collaboration as we work towards this exciting opportunity,” said Mr Bayley.
The ITM Group said it is “committed to co-develop with RCL a world class destination and a leading cruise port hand-to-hand with The Bahamas Government.”
Discussions leading to a Heads of Agreement, which is subject to the approval of the National Economic Council, will begin immediately on matters related to Bahamian employment requirements and Bahamian participation in specific areas.
Bahamians are slated to enjoy significant ownership participation in restaurants, retail stores, transportation and watersports.
Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd is a Special Purpose Vehicle created to own the assets of the Grand Lucayan Resort outside of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas, and to identify a buyer for the property through a sale offering to the investment community by Colliers International.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ships have been calling on Bahamian ports for more than 50 years. Royal Caribbean is a global cruise vacation company that controls and operates four global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Silversea Cruises.
The ITM Group operates 600 rooms and a convention centre in Mexico. The Group also has ongoing relationships with several hotel brands. The Group’s Port projects include Costa Maya, Mahahual, Mexico, and Port of Roatan, Honduras. ITM also has pending projects in Ensenada, Mexico (La Espanola) and Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic (Taino Bay).