The Molasses Debacle
The collapse of the Lehman Brothers had ripples the world over and those ripples quickly turned into a tsunami for the Turks and Caicos Islands. When the bank crumbled so too did the financing for what was planned to be the archipelago’s most modern, most luxurious new hotel – The Ritz Carlton Molasses Reef.
Development of the 9-square mile resort began in earnest in 2001. Following the financial crisis of 2008, the dream eco-resort seemed to have more in common with the ship wreck that inspired its name than with the Ritz’s image of the luxury brand. When the funds dried up, the construction company managing the project was unable to pay its workers, leaving over 400 Chinese construction workers stranded at the site surrounded by semi-built hotel rooms and weed- clogged swimming pools.
The situation quickly deteriorated when the stranded workers allegedly took their employers hostage and demanded the wages owed to them. Media outlets reported that the workers refused to let the contractors leave the island before they were paid. The government were called in to mediate the situation and the contractors were eventually freed.
By March 2013, some four years later, construction had still not restarted at the resort. The tangled casing of the hotel emerged from the frames of unfinished condos. Birds used the structures to construct nests and it appeared that the hotel would become some Indiana-Jones-esque lost city, slowing sinking into the clear white sand.
However, hope was in sight. An unexpected rebound in the global luxury property market salvaged the project. In December 2012, the site had been bought by new developers who were being advised by London-based Kew Capital LLP. About $300 million had been put into the resort by previous owners and a new consortium of developers estimate a further investment of $130 million would be needed to complete the project.
In September 2013 Apex Development, the latest development management company for the project, named a new CEO for the project. The Ritz Carlton Molasses Reef will include 115 hotel rooms, condominiums, a $12 million spa, a beach club and a watersports centre. The resort will be spread across 1,600 feet of beach front and will only be accessible by boat or helicopter.
With development now underway once more, the current owners hope that this time the resort will have more luck than the shipwreck which so appropriately donates its name.
Work in progress
Posted by: Turkscaicos-islands.com