The Government’s advisor on the preservation of places of historic, architectural and archaeological interest has withdrawn support for construction of the Hyatt Hotel Resort based on its latest design.
An upset President of the Barbados National Trust (BNT) Peter Stevens is accusing the developers of misleading the trust into believing that once additional land space was acquired by Government the height and overall scale of the hotel would be reduced.
Stevens said the trust had therefore agreed to the construction of the revised Hyatt based on those objectives, only now to find his organisation had been “railroaded”.
He said the BNT, which also advises Government on places of ecological importance or natural beauty, is also retracting an earlier statement of support for the demolition of the Liquidation Centre – a listed building – to provide an additional 30,000 square feet of land.
“The trust now feels we have been in a sense, railroaded into believing this was going to produce a lower height. Instead, the main structure, the bulk of it has been broken into four towers. One of those towers is taller than the previous Centric Hyatt, now at 196 feet,” he told Barbados TODAY.
The BNT head also described the new design as boring, stating that the developers failed to do their homework.
“It is like a bunch of 1970s offices that have been put together. It provides no architectural progress to Bridgetown. Yet we are told the design is reflective of the architectural heritage of Bridgetown; and my staff and a bunch of other people cannot see this. There is nothing to recommend the architectural style. The previous Centric was much better,” he declared.
Stating that while the national trust can only make recommendations to Government and had no legal authority to force its hands, he is warning that the present design of the Hyatt – if approved – will privatize certain portions of the water with the construction of piers for restaurants.
He also said that the revised Hyatt will dominate the sky scape of Bridgetown by even overwhelming the Central Bank, the Treasury Building and the old National Insurance Building.
Stevens told Barbados TODAY the BNT had been willing to sacrifice the Liquidation Centre in order that the planned 19-storey Hyatt could be reduced.
“But the developers have now decided that having been given a larger plot, they are going to build a bigger hotel. Not only that. They have gone from an open-type operation…they decided to go to the Ziva type which is an all-inclusive…and in the Barbadian point-of-view, all-exclusive,” he stressed.
Stevens expressed concern that the all-inclusive would cut out many local residents or small businesses and prevent them from benefitting from the hotel’s operations.
He is also worried that even though the beach would not be privatized, it would become uncomfortable for ordinary Barbadians to use it as a result of “these big businesses” that are set near the sea,
The national trust boss revealed that his organisation has submitted its recommendations to the Government placing on record its opposition to the construction of the revised Hyatt which he said are now being assessed.
Efforts to reach developer Mark Maloney tonight proved futile.