$3.5 billion Baha Mar Resort and Casino – what is the future now it is bankrupt?

By July 31, 2015Gaming

The general contractor of the unfinished Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas on Tuesday slammed the resort’s developer, saying that it was the developer’s own missteps that resulted in its bankruptcy filing last week.

In addition to filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in the United States, the developer, Baha Mar Ltd., sued the contractor, CCA Bahamas Ltd. (a division of China State Construction Engineering Corp.) in the U.K., asserting that CCA Bahamas had missed construction deadlines and was responsible for postponements of the resort’s opening.

CCA Bahamas disputed that assertion on Tuesday, saying that the bankruptcy filing was “the direct result of [Baha Mar Ltd.’s] failure to secure adequate financing and its mismanagement of the design of Baha Mar resort project.”

The contractor also said Baha Mar Ltd. had mismanaged the project by replacing the resort’s principal architect after construction began and by making more than 1,300 “construction change directives.”

Additionally, CCA Bahamas alleged that Baha Mar Ltd.’s decision to file for bankruptcy in the U.S. and not in the Bahamas was “misplaced and calculated to benefit the project’s developer over the interests of the Bahamas and its people.”

CCA Bahamas said it is owed $72 million for work performed since February.

Responding to CCA’s rebuttal, Baha Mar Ltd. said Tuesday, “Our Chapter 11 filings and our litigation against defendant China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the parent of CCA, all speak to the failed construction performance of the general contractor and the resulting disturbing consequences. We therefore are not going to comment on CCA’s … attempt at damage control.”

Baha Mar Ltd. CEO Sarkis Izmirlian last week said China State Construction had made guarantees that the project would open in November 2014 and when it failed to meet that deadline, guaranteed that the project would open in late March 2015, neither of which was met. The developer also said that before filing for Chapter 11 protection, it had unsuccessfully sought additional funding from its primary lender, Export-Import Bank of China, in order to help finish the project.

The bankruptcy filing sparked a rally last Friday by Baha Mar workers, who marched in support of both Izmirlian and the project, according to the Bahamas Tribune.  The publication also reported that the Bahamas government agreed to pay Baha Mar workers whose paychecks were not delivered due to a delay in temporary financing.

Baha Mar is slated to include four new hotels on Nassau’s Cable Beach totaling more than 2,200 rooms as well as upgrades to an existing 694-room hotel.