After recently running afoul of import rules concerning its collection of slots, the beleaguered Baha Mar Casino And Hotel in the Bahamas has finally had some good news as yesterday saw it formally handed over to its new owner and receive a temporary certificate of occupancy for its hotel.
Scheduled to open from April 21, the $3.5 billion New Providence Island development is now officially owned by CTF BM Holdings, which is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, while the temporary certificate of occupancy for its Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel means that this facility is permitted to officially welcome guests after all of its life safety, mechanical and electrical systems were tested and approved.
“Everyone who is here today can feel the excitement,” Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie stated during a special handover ceremony on Wednesday. “I for myself have seen new employees who were coming in for training and moving forward all on course to make this project a big success. Six hundred and fifty Bahamians I’m advised have already been hired at the Baha Mar [Casino And Hotel] and 1,500 employees will be hired by the April 21 opening.”
The receipt of the temporary certificate of occupancy also means that the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel can begin finalizing its 1,800 contemporary guest rooms and suites, which are due to feature deluxe amenities and private balconies overlooking the ocean and the development’s pools and golf course.
“We’re well on our way,” said Graeme Davis, President for Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited. “We have exciting teams that are ready to make sure we open to the world and it’s up to new standards for this destination. We are already full for our first day. We have invited guests that are already coming for our celebration but it is open to the public to come here and enjoy.”
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel is additionally set to feature 20 food and beverage outlets as well as members-only level while Davis explained that the casino portion of the Baha Mar Casino And Hotel development is progressing smoothly and should be ready to open by April 21.
“We just want to make sure the experience is done right and that we get the training done right,” said Davis. “We are taking our time and making sure that our associates are well trained and we deliver an exceptional feeling for every guest.”
Initially a project of BMD Holdings with funding from China Export-Import Bank, Baha Mar Casino And Hotel was originally scheduled to open for business in 2014 but ran into delays and difficulties that ultimately led to it filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in a Delaware court in 2015. The developer, which was headed by real estate billionaire Sarkis Izmirlian, subsequently blamed these problems on China State Construction Engineering Corporation and its China Construction America Bahamas subsidiary before submitting an unsuccessful offer designed to resurrect the development.
In a move that it hoped would protect the economy of the Bahamas, Christie’s government ultimately liquidated the entire project in October before inking a purchase agreement two months later with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, which has a presence in global real estate, hospitality, transportation and casino businesses.
“The Baha Mar Casino And Hotel is being transferred to a world-class company, one that successfully manages prestigious hotels across the world including three successful resorts in the Caribbean,” Christie said during Wednesday’s handover ceremony. “No one knows better than me how these jobs can change lives. These new opportunities are going to bring meaningful change for a lot of Bahamian families and that’s what it’s all about. That’s why we worked so hard to make sure that the Baha Mar Casino And Hotel was delivered to successful and to safe hands.”