The parent of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts said it is in
talks to buy the unfinished Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas.
Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd. (CTFE) said that
it would invest "millions" in the project prior to its opening. The
company didn't disclose a proposed purchase price.
Baha Mar's current owner is Perfect Luck Assets, an
affiliate of Export-Import Bank of China, the project's primary lender. Perfect
Luck recently acquired Baha Mar of receivership.
CTFE said it applied with the Bahamas government for approval
as a potential investor and is in talks with both Hyatt Hotels Corp. and SBE, which
are slated to operate Baha Mar hotels.
CTFE also said it would "re-engage" Rosewood Hotel
Group for Baha Mar. Rosewood had committed to operating a luxury hotel at Baha
Mar but backed out of the project last year.
A representative for Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie,
when reached by Travel Weekly on Friday, said the Bahamas government would
release a statement on the status of the project "shortly."
The project's former developer, Sarkis Izmirlian (ousted earlier
this year) is trying to regain control of Baha Mar. Izmirlian affiliate BMD Holdings
said Friday that it would be able to offer a higher price for the project than
Perfect Luck would receive from "any other possible buyer."
"It can only serve the interests of the seller and the
Bahamas to have a competitive process to achieve the best outcome," BMD
Holdings said. "BMD stands fully prepared to engage with the seller to
The Baha Mar project ground to a halt last year after Izmirlian
and an affiliate of China State Construction Corp., the project's primary
contractor, began blaming each other for delays. That was followed by Izmirlian's
failed attempt to file for bankruptcy in a U.S. court.