Already under public pressure because of its call for state financing to help it get the stalled Four Seasons hotel project restarted, Paradise Beach Limited is also tackling a multi-million dollar request from its corporate neighbour.
That neighbour is Esso Standard Oil, which reliable sources said has asked the developer to pay approximately $6 million to acquire four acres of vacant land to the east of the luxury development.
As part of the original hotel and villa project’s design, the Four Seasons developers wanted to acquire the land owned by Esso Standard Oil.
BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY has also been informed that in addition to the $6 million land offer, the oil company has told the Four Seasons developers if they wanted the prime property they would have to fork out more money to remove the massive oil storage tanks and any leaks that might have occurred over the years.
In a recent interview with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, executive chairman of Paradise Beach Limited Professor Avinash Persaud declined to comment on the oil company’s reported position.
However, he said: “We have made a counter-offer of what we believe is an above-market price for that land. But I am sure, given the national importance of this project, that no one would want to frustrate it.”
And in a statement issued on the weekend, Colin Scaife, Paradise Beach Limited’s chief operating officer, said under the initial hotel design the original developers were keen to use a four-acre parcel of land behind the Esso gas station in Black Rock “to locate back-of-house activities of the hotel”.
He noted, however, “We have now redesigned the hotel so that this is no longer required. However, Paradise Beach Ltd would still like to purchase the land because it believes that it could make good use of the land for ancillary facilities on the residential side of the project as well, as . . . removing unsightly, unused tanks (will) improve the environment for ourselves and our neighbours.”
He revealed that Paradise Beach Limited had commissioned a market valuation of the land and tank removal costs.
“We have offered to pay the market price and a modest premium and have further offered to pay half the costs of an additional valuation by an independent expert on valuing lands housing oil tanks to facilitate agreement,” Scaife added.
Efforts to reach Cally Boyea, head of Esso’s operation in Barbados, for a comment were unsuccessful as he was reportedly out of the island.
Persaud, in a recent interview, reported that Paradise Beach Limited was on the verge of securing the last $10 million needed to restart construction of the 110-room Four Seasons Hotel. It has secured a $60 million investment from the National Insurance Scheme, $10 million from Four Seasons and $180 million from the IDB. This is in addition to the $120 million Government guaranteed loan from the ANSA Merchant Bank in Trinidad and Tobago.