Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Sagicor 800-room hotel project uncertain

Published:Wednesday | November 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Rohan Miller, CEO of Sagicor Real Estate X Fund.

Sagicor Real Estate X Fund Limited and its parent company are weighing whether to proceed with plans for a 800-room hotel at Rose Hall in Montego Bay that would have been one of the largest projects undertaken by a local company. Although the company has already obtained approval for the project, Sagicor X Fund CEO Rohan Miller is now hinting at the possibility that the lands earmarked for the hotel might be sold.

"The 800-room hotel has not been decided on; it's a decision to be made," he said on Monday.

"We have a fully approved project and the land. But whether or not we develop it, sell it or just hold it for a while that decision has not yet been made." he said.

Sagior previously indicated plans to develop the hotel next door to another resort it owns the Hilton Rose Hall & Spa but the new property would have been branded as a Jewel resort.

Still, Miller said work is under way at the 16-acre site.

"We are just doing infrastructure works that need to be done ... Part of what we are required to do is to build a fence and gate to demark the land. We are also doing some groyne work and breach work to beautify the beach which is an extension of the Hilton," he said.

The new hotel was first disclosed as a US$200 million project under consideration for the 26-acre site. It would have become the seventh property owned or controlled by Sagicor Group Jamaica, following the acquisition of the Palmyra condominium complex. That acquisition was recently rebranded and relaunched as Jewel Grande Montego Bay.

Sagicor X Fund has made $2.36 billion in net profit over nine months ending September, or 40 per cent more profit year on year.

Miller, who has been tasked with delivering strong returns for the group from Sagicor's hospitality holdings, reaffirmed his focus on the current assets, especially the latest addition to the group.

"What we are concentrating on now is integrating the Jewel Grande into the operations we have now. It's fully operational", but want to get it "as efficient and as revenue positive as possible," he said.

Jamaica Grande comprises 217 units of the 299 condo units within the complex.

"Some owners have decided to join the pool while others are still making that decision. Some will not because they bought their units for their own personal use," said Miller.

Jewel Grande is managed on the company's behalf by Aimbridge Hospitality.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com