The Club Med site shortly after demolition. *File photo
The Club Med site shortly after demolition. *File photo

There appears to be substantial interest in developing the now-defunct Club Med site for a prospective luxury resort and casino.

Last week, Opposition Leader Marc Bean mentioned the former Club Med site by name when he said, “Rest assured, this whole casino charade is about one property, one casino, one deal to benefit a very specific set of people.”

The former Club Med resort was imploded in the summer of 2008.

The property is a 124-acre parcel in St. George’s that includes part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Gates Bay Beach, Tobacco Bay, a natural marina at Coot’s Pond and an 18-hole golf course that was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones.

Now, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell’s office has acknowledged that at least seven parties have expressed interest in possibly developing the site.

Yesterday, Mr Crockwell through a statement said: “We can confirm that the government wishes to preserve the first casino licence for new hotel development.  Whichever development has the greatest potential to get started the soonest will get preference for the first licence.”

He added,  “The Government is not interested is issuing a licence just to assist a developer in raising capital for the development.   The developer must be able to demonstrate that they can start development in short order and are able to deliver the type of products that we are looking for before a casino licence will be granted.”

The government appears keen to do something with the parcel.

Last month, the government put out a request-for-proposal – or RFP — inviting developers to submit luxury hotel plans for the property. 

Tax exemptions

Any architectural designs, according to the RFP, should be compatible with the “Bermuda image”.  Respondents must demonstrate the ability to arrange financing, according to the RFP.

The document offers tax exemptions as well, in accordance with the Hotel Concessions Act 2000. They include full exemption from land, payroll and hotel occupancy taxes for up to five years from the hotel’s opening date.

It also bars anyone employed by  government from submitting a proposal. The due date for proposals is March 31.

Mr Crockwell’s office said yesterday that a luxury hotel development proposal could come tethered to casino gaming, although that would not necessarily be a prerequisite for the development of the site.