After five years of controversy and legal challenges, a US$175 million revamped Hyatt Ziva Barbados Resort will finally get off the ground next month.
Developer Mark Maloney told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that work on the project on Bay Street in The City will move full steam ahead next month, despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has forced the closure of hotels, some airports and grounded most major airlines across the globe.
“We are just keeping things going as planned and hoping to start demolition of the two warehouses and the old Tucker property in April and move ahead with all of our enabling works and all the various things that we have to do to get the project going,” Maloney revealed.
“As of now, plans have not changed,” he added.
Maloney, a director of Visions Development Inc. – the local company behind the Hyatt – said while the project is long-term, there are short-haul plans in place which are still on.
Even though the developers have decided to push ahead with beginning physical work on the multi-million-dollar Hyatt, Maloney still appeared to have some concerns about the impact which the fallout from the COVID-19 could have on the future of the hotel and tourism industry.
“Hopefully the hotel industry around the world would be able to recover. We are just keeping things going as planned,” said the local investor.
In light of the likely closure of some businesses here and subsequent job losses due to the virus, Maloney told Barbados TODAY, he would be doing everything possible to keep the staff at his existing companies employed.
“And we are just trying to focus on the things that we have to do in our businesses to keep people employed and keep things moving and keep all the projects and the businesses that we have in the pipeline on stream. That’s what we are focused on,” he stated.
Maloney also gave the assurance that thousands of Barbadians would be employed at the Hyatt on completion.
“We will be employing 2,500 full time once we get it going. But the first thing we are doing is demolishing and starting all the enabling works and completing all the works we need to do to start foundation. So we will be starting all of that in April and then taking it from there,” he explained.
“We are still planning to move forward full steam ahead,” the developer added.
In November last year, during a public meeting at the Copacabana Restaurant in the midst of questions surrounding the construction of the hotel, the developers assured the public that the structure would be set back 130 feet from the high water mark, 30 feet more than what was required.
This was one of the areas of concern for some members of the public who also questioned the change to 18 floors from the ten previously announced by the developers. But Maloney explained that even though the Hyatt will be 18 storeys the advanced construction technology being used, made it possible to reduce the height of the floors.
The developers have also assured the country they would go all out to ensure that construction of the project would not destroy the traditional and historic landscape of the area, neither will Barbadians be denied access to the adjoining beach.