Barbadian Tourism Conglomerate started work on “The Merricks Resort Show Village” but await the Freundel Stuart regime to approve further initiatives in a speedy manner
Harlequin Hotels & Resorts and Harlequin Developments have recently commenced construction of the initial phase of The Merricks Resort – the planned 70.4 acre estimated BBD $900M luxury resort in St. Philip.
Speaking during his visit to the island this week, Chairman Mr. Dave Ames said “We are very excited to have started work on this initial phase of The Merricks Resort Show Village, the BBD $10M pre-cursor to our multi-million dollar resort investment in St. Phillip. This first stage of the project will provide a great boost to the country’s economy, creating work and employment for many local businesses and hundreds of people in St. Philip and Barbados.”
Construction of The Merricks Resort Show Village commenced on June 8th and was originally planned for completion at the beginning of January 2012. This date will now be pushed back because the developers are still awaiting approval from the Government for investment concessions.
Harlequin also recently acquired the former Allamanda Hotel on the south coast. As previously announced, the property will be re-opened in 2012 as the “H Barbados”, the first in Harlequin’s newly created luxury boutique hotel collection. The company has moved quickly and has already completed the initial strip out of the existing building. The construction and refurbishment is now ready to commence on what will transform the former 47-room hotel into a 77-room property. Earlier reports had indicated this was a smaller project but with the benefit of existing planning permission, the Harlequin group is committed to increasing their investment in this project to an estimated BBD $36M, almost doubling the size of the original property.
Speaking from Harlequin’s office at Hythe House in Maxwell, Christ Church, Garrett Ronan, Vice President of Hotel and Resort Development, stated “since receiving final planning permission in May for The Merricks Resort Show Village we have progressed things very quickly. However, we are currently waiting for approval of concessions for both The Merricks Resort Show Village and separately under the “TDA” for our new boutique hotel, H Barbados”.
“The Government has worked very closely with us for the past few months and had promised to ensure an efficient approval process. We have provided all requested information to date but, unfortunately, the planned completion dates for both projects have already started to slip due to continued delays with the approvals. ”
He further noted “This is proving to be very disappointing for our investors and the many local contractors and businesses that are now in a holding pattern awaiting these official approvals. Following a meeting last week with senior Government officials we are hopeful that approvals can be granted this week. This will allow us to continue quickly with construction at both locations.”
The Merricks Resort Show Village will comprise a landscaped formal entrance leading to a two bedroom and a four bedroom Harlequin signature villa, spectacular cliff top boardwalk with public access designed by Kevin Talma of “Talma Mills Studio”, a showcase gazebo, a lagoon pool and a services building with car parking.
All villas are designed with an expansive outdoor deck providing amazing panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and will feature a private plunge pool and spacious en suite bedrooms centred around an 800 sq ft open plan “Caribbean style” living room.
David Campion, Development Director for Harlequin Developments, describes the villa designs as “a contemporary interpretation of local Barbados architectural style that takes an environmentally responsible approach in delivering an upscale luxury experience. To achieve this we are using the latest in environmental and construction technology with a strong focus on energy and water conservation.”
Harlequin Developments is working with many local firms and consultants on the project including ACI Engineering, Talma Mills Studio, BCQS, HHF Inc., New Water Group, Baird & Associates, Richard Gill Associates, RDL logistics, NF Holdings, Technical Masters, A1 Plumbing, Simmons Electrical and Fencit.
An update on The Merricks Resort Development was given recently at a meeting with the local residents’ association in St. Phillip. The Merricks Resort Show Village will allow the local community to see first-hand the quality of the planned project and the meeting now paves the way for open and inclusive dialogue with all interested parties as the project moves forward. The Merricks Resort Show Village, once completed, will be used as a base for Harlequin’s offices and a centre to host investor and local events to give updates on the progress of the development.