Almost a year after their big announcement that work would have been starting late last summer on the redevelopment of the Sam Lord?s Castle resort, at a press conference yesterday the Chairman of the insurance company which owns the property disclosed that construction will be commencing in August this year. Town Planning approval for the construction of 200 condos on the 53-acre site was already in hand, and it was expected that the same approval for the new 250-room 5-star hotel would be in place by the end of this month , April 2008, with completion now targeted for 2011. The new price tag is $140 M - down from the $200M bandied about last year. Hmmm, and we thought construction costs were going up.
Of course, this years plans could also be a scale back on last year?s plans (neither of which this blogger has seen). Another peculiarity coming from the Chairman (who is also the newly appointed Chairman of state-owned broadcaster - CBC) was that there will be three different projects going on at Sam Lord?s at the same time: the construction of the condos, the construction of the hotel, and the refurbishment of the castle, all being carried out by three different ?groups? whatever that means. It certainly sounds like the recipe for cost overruns and further delays to this unwashed onlooker.
Also, no mention was made of the attached golf course at Bath, St. John. Last year the same Trinidad-owned insurance company, which by some estimates already owns half the parish of St. John, was seeking to obtain a further 300 acres of land in the same parish from the previous Government on which they were going to build a golf course to support both their Sam Lord?s, St. Philip and Villa Nova, St. John resorts. The new Prime Minister may have dismissed this latter idea last night in his nationwide telecast when he reaffirmed his government?s support for the National Park stretching from Archers Bay in St. Lucy to Skeete?s Bay in St. Philip.
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