The $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort and casino project in The Bahamas, which was China's largest overseas commercial real-estate project to date, was to include five hotels, a 100,000-square foot casino, an 18-hole golf course, luxury condominiums and a nightclub designed by singer Lenny Kravitz. The project, which was started in 2011 and intended to celebrate a flashy opening this past March, has been plagued by mounting problems, the latest being a lawsuit by Hong Kong-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. Now, it's anyone guess when this development, the largest in The Bahamas, will be welcoming guests.
In a 420-paged document filed this week, Rosewood has requested that a Delaware bankruptcy court void its licensing agreement for a planned 200-room Bahamas resort, because the developer of the hotel, Baha Mar Ltd., had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June of this year. In addition, Rosewood alleges that the developer falsely represented that it was the legal owner of the project's hotel real estate.
The five hotels in the Baha Mar resort included a 1,000-room Baja Mar Casino Resort & Spa, 707-room Grand Hyatt, a 300-room SLS Lux, a 694-room Melia, the 200-room Rosewood and a 300-room Morgan's hotel. However, Morgans Hotel Group pulled the plug on their property in April 2014 over a management dispute with Baha Mar Ltd. That suit is set to go to arbitration, and at the center is the $10 million seed money Morgans committed towards hotel costs. When Morgans pulled out, Los Angeles-based SBE replaced it with its SLS brand.
"Baha Mar has extremely limited access to funding to perform its obligations under the Rosewood hotel agreements and in fact is not timely performing its obligations to Rosewood under the Rosewood hotel agreements," Rosewood said in the filing, which was posted on the Baha Mar website, www.bahamar.com
, under Special Notices. "Baha Mar has told Rosewood that it does not in fact own the land, and, a preliminary search performed on August 14, 2015, of the Bahamas Registry of Records reflected that Baha Mar did not own any real estate property when it entered into the Rosewood hotel agreements and still does not."