Avia Collinder, Business Writer
The National Insurance Fund (NIF) is 'considering it options' for disposal of the former Breezes Montego Bay hotel after an offer to purchase was withdrawn by lawyer and hotelier Christopher Issa.
"We couldn't conclude the terms for Breezes MoBay on a satisfactory basis for both parties," Audrey Deer-Williams, NIF director of investments said on Tuesday.
Issa was said to be off the island, but would comment at a later date on his reasons for backing out of the negotiations.
Issa is head of the Crissa's Group, with Spanish Court being his first hotel venture. The property in New Kingston was transformed from a shopping centre to a 107-room boutique hotel two years ago.
He made an offer for the Montego Bay property one year after it was offered for sale in April 2011.
The resort has now been closed for almost three years since the ending of the management contract with former operator SuperClubs.
Asked if the property had been put back on on the market for sale, Deer-Williams would only say: "We are assessing all options with regards to Breezes MoBay."
The NIF - the state-run agency responsible for investing pension receipts and operating the J$73-billion fund from which NIS contributors and the indigent are paid their pensions - shares ownership of the hotel with NCB Pension Fund.
The resort portfolio of the state agency includes the former Grand Lido Braco in Rio Bueno, Trelawny, as well as El Greco Resort in Montego Bay and shares in Point Village Resort in Negril.
The Rio Bueno property was also at one time tapped for sale, but the NIF changed strategy and opted for a short-term lease earlier this year while it considered whether its sale was feasible.
Before that the hotel was managed by SuperClubs for 15 years, first as Grand Lido Braco and later as Breezes Rio Bueno.
In February, the hotel began operating as Braco Beach Resort & Spa under short-term lease to Blue Diamond, the hotel-operating arm of Sun Wing of Canada.
The contract, which ran out in May, was extended for another year. NIF's consideration of 'all options' for Breezes MoBay suggests it might take a similar route of leasing the property.
Breezes MoBay, located on Gloucester Avenue in the heart of the MoBay hip strip, was last valued at US$14.32 million (J$1.23b), and was placed on the market by WIHCON Properties Limited on behalf of co-owners NIF and NCB Pension Fund. The hotel is beside the world-famous Doctor's Cave Beach.
The seaside property was built in 1995 by NCB Investments - then the investment arm of the banking group. NCB Pension Fund retained 51 per cent of the shareholding, with the remaining 49 per cent purchased by the NIF for J$271 million.