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Baha Mar, the Caribbean's largest resort project files for bankruptcy

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2015 | 6:59 AM

WESTERN BUREAU:

Bloomberg news is reporting that the Caribbean's largest resort project, Baha Mar,  has filed for bankruptcy court protection in Delaware in the United States, blaming delays by the general contractor.

The US$3.5 billion Bahamian Riviera project missed a December 2014 opening and was pushed to Spring 2015, and it is reported that a dispute between the owners, the Swiss/Armenian-Bahamian Izmirlian family and the Chinese contractor caused another delay.

Four hotel brands, reportedly the Grand-Hyatt, Rosewood, Mondrian and the Baha Mar Hotel and Casino, make up the 3,500-room development which was expected to redefine the lodging experience in the western Hemisphere.

Some 4,000 persons were expected to be employed on completion.

The project received financing in part from the EXIM Bank, which pumped US$2.6 billion into it, while the rest of the money is equity from the owners.

Quoting Sarkis Izmirlian, chief executive officer of Baha Mar Limited, Bloomberg said in a media release, the CEO stated that the general contractor repeatedly missed construction deadlines.

"Unable to open, the resort has left been left without sufficient revenue to continue our existing business," said  Izmirlian.

Set alongside 3,000 feet of uninterrupted, white sand beach and crystal clear turquoise waters, Baha Mar captures the spirit of the region, merging the most elite collection of hospitality brands in the world with authentic Bahamian culture and architecture.

The resort is reportedly 97 per cent complete.

The stakeholders had been extremely excited at its birth three years ago.

"Baha Mar will be the enclave of excitement and glamour of our generation - The new Riviera," said Saun Lightbourne, director of destination marketing, during a press conference unveiling the project in January 2012.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com