Bermuda’s economic progress take a hit

Published on March 27th, 2018

Work at a resort development at Morgan’s Point in Bermuda ground to a halt March 26 after workers were told the hotel construction phase was on hold “until further notice”.

About 150 construction staff were affected by the decision.

The news came after three different contractors contacted The Royal Gazette about the decision, said to be driven by the need to “strengthen and extend” financing for the development.

Construction will, however, continue on residential units at the resort, which is being built on the brownfield site of the old US Naval Annex in Southampton. Charles Dunstan, president of the Construction Association of Bermuda, said: “We have been told that the hotel portion is being suspended for the time being.”

He added that work will continue with only “limited work to take place on the residences”.

One contractor, who asked not to be named, branded the sudden shutdown as “ludicrous”.

He said: “I thought it was a joke. We heard this morning that work needs to be suspended by the end of the day. These people have families.”

Another contractor claimed that the managers of the project had “not sold enough residences to continue financing the project.”

Mr Dunstan said that the economic bubble generated by the 35th America’s Cup may have led to unrealistic expectations. He added: “It’s interesting that they’ve gotten so far down the line. Usually if they stall, it happens in the initial phases.”

Mr Dunstan said: “I can’t imagine they could afford to leave it sitting there for any length of time — they need to move it forward in some way.”

He added that the workforce were taken by surprise by the news. Mr Dunstan, who is also managing director of construction firm Kaissa, said: “Yes, I would say so. Having been in this industry for 30 years, I’ve seen these things happen.”

He added the news would come as a blow to construction staff — including some of his own workers. Mr Dunstan said: “These are skilled guys for the most part. There isn’t going to be a lot of work for them.

“This is a big project, a major deal — these sort of large hospitality infrastructure projects are large scale for Bermuda and they absorb a lot of resources. For one to stop like this is not good.”

The hotel, with 79 suites, two of them presidential suites, is scheduled to be operated by the upmarket Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand. The directors of Morgan’s Point Ltd, including chief executive Craig Christensen, could not be contacted.

The Morgan’s Point development was hailed as a major boost for the island’s struggling construction sector.

Source: The Royal Gazette, Ritz-Carlton

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