The eight-storey, uncompleted structure at the back of the once popular Buddy’s Pool Hall and Night Club on Sheriff Street is up for sale alongside other properties.
Advertising in Caribbean Airlines’ inflight magazine, Caribbean Beat, Buddy’s Housing lists the Sheriff Street structure as for sale or rental.
A rice mill, commercial properties on the East Bank, East Coast and in Georgetown, lands for sale on Brickdam and Main Street in addition to three-bedroom homes located on the East Coast are all listed in the advertisement in what appears to be a major shift away from business here.
Managing Director of Buddy’s Housing Development, Ryan Shivraj, would only confirm yesterday that the properties were for sale but said, “At this time I don’t want to really say anything.”
The Sheriff Street building, now for sale, was once slated to be a state-of-the-art hotel equipped with a helipad. Its owner Omprakash ‘Buddy’ Shivraj had said that he had plans to open another casino and hotel much like the one he sold to the then Princess Group of Companies.
The Buddy’s Pool Hall and Night Club, which had been popular on the entertainment scene for more than a decade and which was housed in a seven-storey building on Sheriff Street near to where the eight-storey building is located, closed quietly last year, following a fall in business.
A medical school, the Alexander American University School of Medicine, run by Indian nationals, now operates from the second floor of the building while the Chinese Mei Tung Restaurant continues to rent the third floor. The restaurant also has a mobile food unit on the outskirts of the parking area.
The Buddy’s Gym is still operational and this newspaper understands “continues to hold its own” and is slated to remain open.
The Buddy’s Hotel, which was located at Providence, is now renamed the Ramada Princess, and was sold to Turkish hotelier Sudi Özkan back in 2008. The Hotel was constructed with funding that included five mortgages from the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) and a $165.7 million advance on the sale of rooms to the Government of Guyana.
The then Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport had paid over to the Ministry of Finance since 2007, the sum of US$598,000 – approximately $119.6 million – of the $165.7 million that the government had advanced to the hotel. The remaining $46.1 million was said to have been recovered through room nights at the hotel.