Grand Atlantic development *File photo
Grand Atlantic development *File photo

The Bermuda Housing Corporation warned the last Government that demand for housing at a white elephant development did not exist, a Cabinet Minister told MPs today.

Wayne Scott, Minister of Community and Cultural Development, said that available real estate figures in 2009 supported the case against the controversial Grand Atlantic development in Warwick.

But he added: “The Corporation was advised that the Grand Atlantic project consisted of a very important tourism component and in order for the tourism component to be viable, a housing development was to be built.

“The BHC were informed that, with the sale of the housing units, the land could then be used as collateral to finance the building of the hotel.”

Mr Scott was speaking after he revealed last week that Government is to publish a request for information in a bid to attract investors with plans to find a use for the properties, which are mostly empty.

Mr Scott said: “If an alternative use is selected for the property, preference would be given to a project that is financially beneficial to Bermuda as well as one that creates employment and has a positive social impact.

“The future of the Grand Atlantic development will be decided in a manner that is mutually beneficial and transparent to all stakeholders.”

Mr Scott said last week the BHC, which was committed to buying 78 of the 125 properties, with an option to buy the other 47 apartments if the market supported the move, would not be taking up the option to buy.

He added that sales of the remaining properties at Grand Atlantic had been suspended while new uses for the site are sought.

The Special Development Order (SDO) granted in 2007, called for a 100-bedroom hotel at the site as well as affordable apartments.

But the hotel never materialized, with the then-PLP Government saying last year that it would be “revisited” once the rest of the development was completed.