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New owners plan hotel overhaul

Jonathan Kent

Perhaps the biggest new project on the horizon is the Fairmont Southampton’s upcoming facelift. The island’s largest hotel was purchased last year by Miami-based Gencom, which also owns Rosewood Tucker’s Point.
Gencom spent $25 million on the Tucker’s Point overhaul and expects to lay out even more on the Southampton resort, according to Alessandro Colantonio, Gencom’s executive vice-president, acquisitions and capital markets.
Details about the nature of the refurbishments at the 593-room property and when the work will be done have not yet been revealed.
Gencom stated: “The new ownership is committed to a significant investment in the long-term success of the resort. Gencom is currently reviewing all aspects of the property and anticipates a full reveal of their reimagined designs for the resort in 2020.”
Gencom, which was founded by Karim Alibhai in 1987, has completed more than $7 billion of real estate deals since its inception and its investment portfolio includes luxury hotels in Florida, Colorado and Pennsylvania in the US, as well as Bermuda and Costa Rica internationally.
Another major project, which could start as early as next year, involves the replacement of two bridges in the East End: the Longbird Bridge, which connects the Causeway with St David’s Island, and the Swing Bridge, which links St David’s with St George’s Island.
Work on the two bridges will take place at the same time, according to Austin Kenny, senior structural engineer at the Department of Works and Engineering, in the interests of realising “significant economies of scale”.
Work on the Longbird Bridge is expected to take 15 months. The steel superstructure for the bridge is likely to be put together overseas, shipped to the island and put into place as one unit, Mr Kenny said at a public meeting in March.

St Regis Hotel (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Replacement of the Swing Bridge is expected to take two years. The bridge, which opens hydraulically to allow boats to pass, will be made of several pieces, brought in separately and then cast together with concrete.
A competitive tendering process was scheduled to take place late this year. However that may now be delayed, as Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, put a halt on all capital projects that have not yet started as a result of the strain on government finances caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
Several projects under way have an end in sight. The Azura hotel and residences on the site of the former Surf Side Beach Club in Warwick, has entered its third and final phase.
Hotelco is working on the St Regis Hotel project in St George’s, expect to be ready for opening in April 2021, on time despite the month-long delay caused by lockdown during the pandemic. The company has taken on more work with the acquisition of the St George’s Club, which closed in February this year. Hotelco plans a facelift for the property and with a reopening at the same time as the new St Regis.
A prominent overhaul in Hamilton is taking place on Front Street, where the former HSBC building near the ferry terminal is being transformed into Point House.
Owners, the Green family, intend that the ground floor will have some retail and leisure units, with street-level access, and views of the harbour.
A separate and distinctive entrance will be built for access to the upper floors, which will be leased to office tenants and the building’s façade will comprise more glass and be more attractive as a result.
The changes will also increase natural light inside the building and balconies will be added to create outside space.
Before the pandemic-related delays, it was hoped that the project would finish by the end of this year.

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