Baha Mar Files for Bankruptcy

More trouble for the mega luxury resort Baha Mar on Nassau in the Bahamas: Yesterday it announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Today its developer Baha Mar Ltd. filed a claim against lead contractor China Construction America, saying CCA was to blame for delays and missed deadlines.

Baha Mar has been much anticipated by the meetings industry. Set on 1,000 acres, it includes a convention center, four new hotels (Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Grand Hyatt, SLS Lux and Rosewood) with 2,323 rooms, 700 refurbished rooms at an existing Melia hotel, a casino, a golf course, private residences and more than 40 restaurants, bars and clubs.

Indoor and outdoor meeting space would total more than 200,000 sq. ft. Baha Mar Convention Arts & Entertainment Center would account for 82,000 sq. ft. of the  space, with three separate ballrooms that could be divided into multiple breakout rooms. The center is also planned to have sizable prefunction space, outdoor pavilions and gardens that can accommodate events.

Baha Mar files for bankruptcy as it nears the end of construction. According to reports, its board said that filing for Chapter 11 was the only way the $3.5 billion resort could be completed. Chapter 11 requires suppliers and other creditors to continue working with Baha Mar while it secures financing of up to $80 million to continue to pay workers, suppliers and vendors. Sarkis Izmirlian, the developer’s chairman and CEO, will provide the loan.

CCA alleges in court papers that Baha Mar owes it $140 million.

The resort was supposed to open in December 2014. It later missed announced openings in March, May and June of this year, angering customers who had booked rooms.

Baha Mar plays a major role in the Bahamas’ future economy. Its projected annual payroll of $130 million will equal 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

In 2011, the Export-Import Bank of China financed the long-delayed resort for $2.4 billion, and the plan was for mostly Chinese workers to build it. The massive project would revitalize tourism in the Bahamas and provide thousands of local jobs.

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