One of this island’s real estate and property management magnates is throwing his support behind the proposed 15-storey Hyatt Centric Resort.
Chief Executive Officer of Terra Caribbean Andrew Mallalieu said he was yet to hear any “credible argument” as to why the multi-storey hotel should not be built at the proposed Lower Bay Street, Bridgetown site.
“We do hope the Hyatt will happen. It is a good thing for Barbados, and not only the Hyatt but development in that area. There may be arguments that I have not yet heard as to why a multi-storey facility in that location is bad for Barbados but I have yet to hear a credible argument. I have heard rhetoric [and] I have heard emotion. I have not heard any credible argument,” said Mallalieu, a ten-year veteran of the real estate industry.
The planned US$100 million project, which is to consist of two 15-storey high rise towers, has not gone down well in some quarters, with the Barbados National Trust and social activist David Comissiong both raising objections on environmental grounds.
However, addressing a media conference Wednesday to officially launch The Red Book 2017, a detailed publications on real estate in Barbados, Mallalieu dismissed any objections to the project, saying he was yet to see any empirical evidence that a high rise development would do any harm to the area.
“I have heard a lot and read a lot of people criticizing a multi-storey development at Lower Bay Street as being not in the national interest. I have not heard any empirical evidence [and] I have not heard anyone who has told me why they feel that way,” Mallalieu said.
He said because of limited space and scarce resources, every effort should be made to use these resources efficiently.
In this context, he explained, contrary to what the detractors were suggesting it was better to construct taller buildings that use less land space.
“In effect, what it seems to me that people are arguing for is to use more of our beach for fewer rooms. I feel completely opposite. I think that we should go up in the air because that is what we have, that space. We should keep more areas open to the view so that we can see it and not build these smaller properties that block us all from the beach.
“So I think that the Hyatt and any other proposal for a multi-storey hotel in that particular location is a very good use of our land. I think it is in keeping with our planning policy and I personally support that it would happen,” the property management magnate said.
Pointing out that a number of businesses had left The City over the years, he added that such a development would help with the rejuvenation of the capital.
“I think that the Pierhead project that has been talked about since I was very small has never happened because it is probably too big a project. But I think that small projects like the Hyatt will probably bring significant investment back into Bridgetown,” he said, adding that another way to help breathe life back into The City was through the development of residential properties.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart suggested in mid-November he was close to a decision on the controversial hotel project, telling journalists he had most of the information needed for a decision on building permission for the 237-room property on almost three acres of waterfront along Brownes Beach.
However, while Stuart is yet to give a verdict, Director of Caribbean Consultants Ltd James Edghill, whose company is one of the firms to be involved in the Hyatt development, told Barbados TODAY on Monday he was confident the project would “soon get the go-ahead”.