The behemoth Baha Mar in Nassau, whose grand opening has been pushed back to Spring 2015, will be nearly dwarfed in several respects by a 1,600 acre (647-hectare) integrated resort planned for Antigua and Barbuda by the Yida Group of China. “Singulari” will be spread over 900 acres in Antigua and about 700 acres of small islands, the development will include hundreds of private homes, several luxury hotels, marinas, golf courses, an entertainment district, horse racing facilities, a school and hospital, and the Caribbean’s largest casino; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Antigua.
Unlike many of the “ghost cities” of China’s real estate bubble this development may well be a field of dreams where, if you build it they will come. Even if not, they will have invested in a cash strapped country in paradise whose national debt is nearly 90% of its GNP.
The Agence France Press reported that Gaston Browne, the new Prime Minister of Antigua took office on June 12 and signed an agreement to sell the land the next day as part of his effort to turn the country around and become “an economic powerhouse.”
The former owner of the land is Texas businessman Allen Stanford, once the largest private sector employer in the country. The country’s financial woes went from bad to worse with his 2009 arrest for a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Stanford is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence after a Houston federal jury convicted him of fraud.
Some readers may recall that the tiny country, who was the first in the world to issue online gambling licenses, won a World Trade Organization ruling in regards to “the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services” and was granted WTO permission to retaliate against the United States. The authorization was granted on 28 January 2013. Third parties in the suit are recorded as Canada; Chinese Taipei; European Communities; Japan; Mexico; China.
The project will probably take at least 10 years to complete and create 1,000 jobs including 200 immediately and another 800 over the course of construction. About $2 billion in GDP is expected to be created for the country in the process.