The final bids are in.
It is now for the Government to make its pick of who will
take over the stalled Four Season’s hotel project.
Efforts today to reach the project’s lead spokesman
Avinash Persaud were unsuccessful, but informed sources
with very intimate knowledge of the negotiations confirmed
to Barbados TODAY that the process of bidding had
officially come to a close.
Sources further revealed that there were at least two
“solid” offers on the table for the “pricy” beachfront
property, located at Clear Water Bay and said to be valued
at US$80 million (BDS$160 million).
One of these is Colony Capital, a Californian-based,
US$25 billion private equity fund, founded by real estate
mogul Thomas Barrack Jr. The company, which is behind the
Raffles and Fairmont hotel brands, has been linked to the
British entrepreneur Simon Cowell, who has already invested
in the largest luxury villa on the former
The group, which is backed up by Luxury Living
Development, has major plans for the beachfront property
and is already talking in terms of full repayment to the
Government of a US$30 million (US$60 million) guarantee.
“Suffice it to say, the Government gets out whole,” said
spokesman Matthew Bishop, whose real estate company
has constructed several high–end properties in Mexico and
California, including Cowell’s United States home.
Without confirming the dollar value of its bid, he said
Colony Capital was very serious about owning Four Seasons
and developing a hotel on the property that it had already
chosen a design team for the luxury hotel.
“We see this as a great opportunity. We believe in
Barbados and the Four Seasons project and we have
already done a fair amount of work,” he said in an exclusive
interview with Barbados Today from his US office.
However, equally serious is said to be the second bid
entered by Ong Beng Seng, a Malaysian hotel and property
tycoon, based in Singapore, which has been conducting due
diligence and has already identified its local business partners.
Apart from his significant investments in property
development, retail and Formula One racing, the
businessman, who has been linked to local magnate Kiffin
Simpson, as well as a prominent local construction firm,
owns several international hotel properties, including the
Four Seasons in Singapore. Two years ago, he was ranked
seventh on Forbes magazine’s 2011 list of Singapore’s
richest people with an estimated net worth of $1.9 billion.
Representatives of the two firms have been on island
recently to meet with senior government and tourism
officials and the developers.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything will
work out for us,” said one senior Government official, who
added that the administration was hoping to have a decision
by the end of October and to complete the entire sale
process by yearend, making way for hotel construction work
However, another official, who also did not want to be
identified, made it clear that the final decision was not only
Comparing Four Seasons to the still to be finalized
Almond Resorts situation, he said the Government had be
concerned that whoever takes charge “is actually prepared to
build a hotel and in a reasonable time frame”.
Asked specifically to respond to this concern, Bishop
said: “We don’t speculate. In fact we have already looking
to get the design completed,” he said. kaymarjordan@