By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The One and Only Resort that was to begin construction by December 2021 may soon break ground following years of negotiations with legal and financial experts, and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
That information is according to Mr. Simon Lowe, developer for the One and Only Resort and Chief Executive Officer of Eden Lands (Nevis) Ltd, a company specially created for the multi-million dollar project.
The NIA is a partner and holds 25 percent of the equity. Mr. Wakely Daniel, Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Ministry, and Mr. Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the NIA’s Ministry of Finance have been appointed to serve as members of the Board of Directors of Eden Lands (Nevis) Ltd.
“In 2019, we signed a contract with One and Only to build the hotel. As you know in 2020, very early, the pandemic hit and whereas we had advanced with our architect and all that needed to be done in terms of design and finance, everything closed down.
In 2020, I was still negotiating with Premier Mark Brantley who wanted to renegotiate the contract that we signed originally with former Premier Joseph Parry and then eventually with Premier Vance Amory so we spent most of 2020 in renegotiations,” said Mr. Lowe in an interview with Mr. Jermaine Abel of SKNVibes.
A new contract was signed by Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley on behalf of the NIA on January 06, 2021, for the start of construction of the hotel, said to be budgeted at $75 million US.
“At that time, we agreed that we would start to build it by January 2022. We couldn’t do that again because there was federal quarantining. We have specific clauses in our contract that if there are any delays caused by the federal regulations relating to COVID-19, the time period would be extended.
In 2022, we now have to renegotiate the finance for this because as a result of COVID-19, the banks were frightened. There was no traveling and hospitality going on so they placed new conditions on us which I wasn’t very happy with so I said I am not going to proceed.
In the summer of 2021, we approached, through our financial contacts in London and New York, some new people, and we now have an offer which is very good…so we are looking to push ahead. They of course would have to do their due diligence which would take 12 to 15 weeks and then we have to get our architects to finish off all the plans which we have done in outline and we have from the [NIA] Planning Department a concept consideration…so we are looking towards breaking ground towards the end of the year,” Mr. Lowe added.
Construction, if commenced this year, may see a 2025 completion date. Some 300 jobs are expected to benefit the local economy with the construction of the hotel and upon completion, some 250 people are expected to be employed.