Mon | Aug 21, 2017

H10 to upsize hotel development to over 1,250 rooms

Published:Wednesday | March 22, 2017 | 3:00 AMSteven Jackson

Felicitas Limited and the H10 Hotel Group will upsize their planned hotel development by 45 per cent to just over 1,250 rooms in Trelawny.

They want to start the development by midyear after recently submitting an Environmental Impact Assessment, or EIA, to the planning authorities.

The cost of development will be "over US$200 million" for the hotel set to open as Coral Spring H10 Hotel.

When the project was initially announced in November 2015, the plans included a 485-room family resort with an additional 375 rooms for adults. Now there are three phases.

"The proposed project is a hotel resort development which will be executed in three phases. The estimated number of habitable rooms will be 470, 222 and 560 for phases 1, 2 and 3, respectively," stated an addendum to the report. The EIA was prepared for Felicitas by EnviroPlanners Limited; however, the addendum was prepared by consultants CL Environment.

The Spanish-owned H10 Hotels Group develops hotels in Spain, Italy, England, Germany, Portugal, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Through "a joint venture" with the H10, Felicitas Limited proposes to develop the hotel resort on approximately 25.33 hectares of land, stated the EIA, published on the website of the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA).

The developer aims to start the project in June 2017 and complete construction in a year. The timetable is, however, subject to receipt of planning permits. It's unclear whether the timeline will hold as Felicitas did not follow through on a call that Gleaner Business was told to expect.

The company is locally registered but Spanish-owned, according to official documents, but its shareholders are not named.

IMPACT EXPECTED

The developer expects the hotel to impact surrounding communities, "no doubt" extending as far as Montego Bay. The EIA report also highlighted likely impacts from construction, namely, the erosion to coastline and hills.

"The coastline at the site is dynamic based in the episodes of erosion and deposition at short distances along the shoreline. This has resulted in a change in morphology as a result of erosion on the east and deposition on the west along the coastline at the site. This coastal dynamic has been corroborated by residents with knowledge of the area, which suggests that deposition of beach sediments on the western side has been recent," the report stated.

"Additionally, over 2,500 m3 of beach sand was illegally removed from the site at Coral Spring (MGD 2008) leaving behind large troughs, the largest measuring 100m in length and 20m in width. It is estimated that over 500 truckloads of sand were removed," the EIA said.

At present, the site has been filled by deposits of beach sand, which migrated from the eastern side of the coastline and beyond due to erosion, added the EIA. Felicitas charged that 6,000 cubic yards of sand was removed from its Coral Springs property in 2008. In June 2011, Felicitas took two hotel companies and an aggregates company to court. The defendants are Fiesta Jamaica Limited, owner and operator of the Grand Palladium Hotels; Riu Hotel; and Bedrock Building and Aggregates Limited. The defendants deny wrongdoing.

Prior to that case, which appears to be ongoing, five persons were charged with simple larceny and conspiracy to steal the sand, but the charges were dropped in February 2011 in the Falmouth Resident Magistrate's Court, Trelawny. The Crown said it could not proceed with the case because the main witness was threatened and had refused to testify.

Felicitas wants to recover more than US$8 million in damages for the alleged theft of the sand. Felicitas had bought the beachfront property at Coral Springs in 2006 to develop the resort.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com