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Jobs coming

An area of the Merricks Resort and H Barbados luxury boutique hotel under construction.

A successful completion of Merricks Resort and H Barbados developments could mean close to 2,000 jobs over the next two years and beyond.

According to the plans revealed by Harlequin Developments, developers of the two tourism-based properties today, H Barbados in Hastings, Christ Church, could supply some 300 jobs in construction and 180 positions once the luxury boutique hotel is completed.

The larger of the two projects, Merricks Resort in St. Philip, could see 100 jobs in the construction phase of the Show Village alone, with another 1,000 to 1,250 in construction on the master project at that location and some 400 jobs once the resort gets up and running.

These figures were revealed to media at Harlequin’s Hastings offices this morning, shortly before a tour of the two properties.

The plans indicate that the $43 million Christ Church boutique hotel will have 78 luxury keys, including five penthouses and involve about 20 local companies in the construction. The developers have targeted between 65 per cent and 70 per cent of the budget for local spending and reported that so far all systems are on track for an August 2013 opening.

Vice President of Hotel and Resort Development, Garrett Ronan, stated that the hotel was originally supposed to be 46 rooms, but after they bought the property they found that permission had already been granted for the construction of a much larger property which sent them back to the drawing board.

The result now was a 78 room property, which he contended would be a blessing to the south coast.

“The whole idea is to bring a high, ultra-chic boutique, if you like, Miami’s Southbeach style. That is really the vibe and the feel. It is going to be ultra-modern, very upscale five star, not so much targeted to the family although we will not exclude families, but moreso towards couples… “We believe this is going to be a little bit of a jewel on the South Coast and when I look at that south coast boardwalk and the amenity it is and what an asset it is to the island, there is so much more that we can be doing and should be doing that this might become a catalyst for bigger and better things along the boardwalk,” said Ronan.

Project manager Christopher John said they were undertaking some serious remodelling and redesigning of the old Allamanda Hotel, where H Barbados is located.

The only challenge, he noted, had been in relation to their excavation of the ground levels, where they had found water because of the proximity to the sea as well as the water table. He added that since forecasts had been made of these eventualities, their teams had been prepared for it and had been pumping water from the areas where they needed to work and had since seen success in doing so.

There will be five blocks that would combine to form one large hotel on that location, John stated.

Meanwhile, at Merricks, construction has been ongoing on the Show Village which will house one four-bed villa, one two-bed villa, one service building, and a lagoon and events gazebo to the tune of $7.5 million.

The entire Merricks Resort, which will include 1,200 units, has been estimated at $900 million, with phase one — the construction of 250 units estimated at $200 million over a period of up to two years.

While Ronan did not rule out the possibility of displaced Allamanda Hotel finding jobs in the new developments, he said: “We will have an open employment policy once we are open. We will do advertising through all the channels and encourage a full application process where we will take in through screening of those who are qualified.” (LB)

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