The government remains tight-lipped regarding the latest developments with the Marriott Hotel even as it pushes ahead to fulfil its promise to get the project under way before year end.
When contacted for an update on the project, Chairman of the Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI), Winston Brassington said that he had no comment at this time. AHI is the government company managing this project and operates out of the Privatization Unit located at Atlantic Hotel Inc.
However, according to a document seen by this newspaper, Brassington, in his capacity of Chairman of AHI, in February submitted drawings for “the construction of a proposed Georgetown Marriott Hotel at Block Alpha, Kinston Georgetown.“ The plan was sent to City Engineer Gregory Erskine for approval. Erskine is currently out of the country. Sources at City Hall, however, were unable to say whether the plan was approved. The plan was designed by Adam Develop-ers /Urbahn Architects Ltd of New York USA. The dimension of the land is 6.88 acres (299,692.8 square feet) and the building is supposed to be constructed using concrete, wood and steel.
A brochure produced for the recently held Building Expo said that the proposed hotel will have 160 rooms with the capacity to expand to over 200 rooms with all amenities. The proposed 10- storey facility should also have a large conference/banqueting facility which would be operated by Marriott International, according to the document.
According to the document the main components of the project are a 160 room Marriott Hotel (that can expand to more than 200 rooms) complete with all amenities and a large conference/banqueting facility, operated by Marriott Inter-national. The new hotel is also expected to host a casino to be operated by an operator yet to be selected. The casino is expected to cater for a minimum of 200 slot machines and 20 tables. The document also spoke about the construction of a nightclub, which will include a terrace overlooking the ocean. This too will be operated by a third party and will cater for 500 persons at one time, with a two-level design.
Additionally, the hotel will feature a restaurant (including an outdoor section which overlooks the ocean. This facility will be operated by a third party (which is yet to be selected). The restaurant will cater for 200 people at one sitting and will have 5 private rooms.
During a press conference on July 8, President Bharrat Jagdeo said that the Guyana government was about to enter into a public/private partnership with the Zublin Group in Grenada. He said that the government was on the verge of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Zublin Group and that he hoped construction would begin within two to three months.
“I think the government will have… one third equity and the investor will have two thirds equity,” Jagdeo said. He did not reveal how much the project will cost or how much money government will be putting in, saying that since it is a mainly private sector-owned project it is better that this information be revealed at the time of the official announcement.
The project has been on the drawing board since 2006, but had been delayed as a consequence of several factors. Word of the Zublin’s interest in the project first surfaced in May last year. Officials from Zublin Grenada Limited officials had said that the government had made them a “very attractive offer.” After initially refusing to say anything, the Privatisation Unit/ National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) said that Zublin was only one of a number of prospective investors who had shown interest in investing in the Marriott Hotel project here. In the statement, it said government had entered into a Confidentiality Undertaking with Zublin “and any disclosures by Zublin, without the approval of government, would be a violation of this agreement.” It added that at that time, no commitments or agreements had been entered into with Zublin.
Zublin Grenada Limited, according to its website, was established in November 2000 by the then parent company Züblin Bau AG, a large construction company from Switzerland. “Upon establishment, Zublin Grenada immediately embarked on one of Grenada’s biggest infrastructural development projects,” including working with the Grenada government “to develop and finance the island’s first cruise ship jetty and also a modern state of the art cruise ship terminal and duty free shopping complex.”
In 2003, Zublin Grenada became independent from its parent company via a management buyout and Züblin Bau AG was sold to the pan-European construction company Strabag AG from Austria/Germany, the website said.
The main partners and members of the Board of Directors in Zublin Grenada are Hendrik A van Dijk, Sükrü Evrengün, and Winston Whyte.