Celebration Jamaica, owned by property developer Robert Trotta, recently bagged a deal worth $40.1 million with the state owned Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and secured Success lands outside of Montego Bay, in the Rose Hall belt to develop an integrated casino resort. This is a high-value contractual deal as it is estimated to be around $5 billion in local currency and the Office of the Prime Minister is reported to have added a couple of key stipulations to the contract.
The government has guaranteed this sale price to Celebration Jamaica for a period of 12 months only and wants the payment to be made in cash. These stipulations suggest that the state government might have concerns as to whether Celebration Jamaica is financially sound enough to close this high-value deal within a short term period. The company was one out of the two companies that secured approval to develop casino resorts in the state.
Gaming law in Jamaica requires developers of casino resorts to construct a minimum of 2,000 hotel rooms and suites in phases. The first phase must include the development of a mandatory 1,000 hotel rooms before the company can proceed to apply for a gaming license form the Casino Gaming Commission. Celebration Jamaica was expected to break ground on the first 1,000 hotel room by May 15 but the company failed to meet the deadline as negotiations for the property were yet to be finalized.
Celebration Jamaica is still negotiating a revised integrated casino resort with the Ministry of Finance and hence it is not clear as of now as to whether the UDC will give Celebration approval to proceed with the construction process on Success lands.
The state government recently released a statement confirming that Success lands were “sold to Celebration Jamaica Limited for the establishment of what is characterised as an integrated resort development. This will include construction of a hotel complex, a casino resort and auxiliary facilities. It should be noted that this sale price holds with the caveat of completion of the sale within a year and further stipulates that the sum be paid in United States dollars.”
Since Celebration Jamaica is still in re-negotiations, new deadlines for the project will most likely have to fixed. The company will invest more than $500 million to develop the first phase of the project and develop new casinos during the second phase. Markus Deutsch, the acting CEO of Celebration Jamaica confirmed that negotiations were on with the UDC and that the company was looking to start the project as early as January 2017. The Ministry of Finance confirmed that it was willing to be flexible with Celebration Jamaica to close the casino resort deal successfully.