Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Marriott deal dead, a casualty of global financial crisis

Kaieteur News news item, Wednesday 31 December 2008

Marriott deal dead, a casualty of global financial crisis
December 31, 2008 | By knews |

Even as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the required
permit for the construction of the Marriott Hotel is being assessed, the
deal has fallen through.

An artist's impression of what the Marriot Hotel was expected to look like
This is according to Head of State, Bharrat Jagdeo, who during a recent
press briefing, told media operatives that the investors have signaled their
intention to pull out because of the global financial crisis.
The study of the report was a mandatory requirement before Adam's
Development Urbahn Associates (ADUA) could have received its construction
permit. The board has been reviewing the data since November 19, last.
The principal objectives of the EIA are to scope issues and concerns from
stakeholders regarding the proposed project that needs to be addressed,
document the ecological and socio-economic baseline of the project area,
identify and assess potential environmental and social impacts associated
with the proposed project, and recommend mitigation measures that would
reduce the significance of predicted negative impacts and enhance predicted
benefits on all aspects of the surrounding environment.
Another objective is to develop a comprehensive Management Plan outlining
actions and responsibilities for managing the predicted impacts of the
project, among others.
Last April, ADUA presented its design plans and drawings of the hotel to all
key stakeholders, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Mayor and
City Council (MCC), Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), the Sea
Defense Board, and the Government.
On May 16 last, the EPA held a scope meeting to determine the terms of
reference for the EIA being completed by Environmental Management
In June, the terms of reference were approved by the EPA and posted on the
EPA's website.
Last August, the ADUA, through its Environmental Consultants, presented the
draft EIA to the EPA for review, approval and issuance of a permit.
The financial closing should have been consummated in Guyana via its
Guyanese subsidiary, which was supposed to have been executing the project
on behalf of ADUA. At the sod-turning ceremony, the financiers were supposed
to have been announced but this apparently will not be happening.
In May, ADUA, under contract from the Government of Guyana and GWI,
constructed new sewerage pipes to allow the site to be cleared for
construction. The Kingston well was also relocated.
Additionally, in May, ADUA, at its own cost, completed initial clearing and
demolition of buildings, including the former Luckhoo Pool.
According to Nat Branco, a representative of the construction company, the
building at its highest point should have been 10 storeys while the intent
of the project was to establish a modern, iconic, state-of-the-art hotel,
casino and entertainment complex in Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana,
and was slated to be the post-card shot and the pride of the country.
The complex was expected to attract visitors from abroad, especially the
Caribbean, North America and Brazil, and was also to provide an excellent
accommodation alternative to vacationing Guyanese from overseas.
Branco had described earlier that the facility would boast a main compound
that would have consisted of a world-class hotel, casino, nightclub, and
restaurants, all contained in a single attractively designed building.
"The location affords excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean, and Demerara
River that it borders is important for river transport into the main eco-
tourism areas, while road links make the complex accessible to the central
business district and port."
The proposed development was supposed to have been located on a 6.27 acre
parcel of vacant land located in northwest Kingston, Georgetown, contiguous
to the Atlantic Ocean and the Demerara River.
The total building area of the hotel, casino and entertainment complex,
excluding parking, was expected to be 185,000 square feet. The hotel portion
of the complex was slated at approximately 135,000 square feet, and would
have consisted of 160 rooms and be operated by Marriott International.
The casino and entertainment portion of the complex was geared to comprise
approximately 50,000 square feet and would have been located on three
There was a projected average yearly turnover in the first 10 years of
approximately US$11M.
The project was also envisaged to service a minimum of 3.7 million people
over the first 10 years.
All that is now nothing but a dream because the Marriott project has been

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