Following last week’s call by the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) for the Government to pay former Jolly Beach employees, the Browne Administration is reporting a commercial interest in the property.
Reports say that an unnamed private investor is willing to spend up to US$200 million to build a new 150-room hotel and several villas at the current site of the hotel.
Further reports say the proposed investor and three partners met with the Cabinet on Wednesday, April 20, to discuss the purchase of the property.
The investor reportedly estimates that the new resort will employ more staff per head than the old hotel did. However, the property will not be an all-inclusive.
According to the Cabinet, an MOU is to be signed within months, while the demolition of the Jolly Beach Resort could be completed by April 2023. The replacement resort and villas will take three years to build, the Administration claims.
A tourism stakeholder tells REAL News she is unable to “feel any excitement” at the Cabinet’s announcement, since there have been “so many false starts already” about this property.
“Right now, we have Jolly Beach, Grand Princess, Halycon and Sugar Ridge off the market. And we’re still waiting for Half Moon Bay to come back on stream,” the businesswoman says.
“If these investors are serious about Jolly Beach, I hope the Government will see the wisdom in including a performance clause before they sell the place,” she adds.
Meanwhile, in spite of the announcement of an interest in the property, there is still no word on when the former Jolly Beach workers will be paid their severance and other entitlements.