In an effort to introduce the brand and answer questions surrounding the Barbados Hyatt Centric Carlisle Bay, the local and international project management team invited the public to “Come Experience the Vision” at the planned site for the property in Bridgetown. The presentation took place earlier this morning, Saturday 10th 2017.
Addressing a group of approximately one hundred people, which included a spectrum of supporters and concerned citizens, Developers James Edghill and Mark Maloney explained that one of the primary goals of the project was to enrich the surrounding community and Barbados in general.
Lightly referring to the Hyatt as the “My-att”, Edghill and Maloney emphasized that this was a Bajan project and would thus enhance and develop all that was positive from a cultural and economic perspective.
Referring to the structure and the concept design team, Maloney explained that “This project will be locally infused. It is an urban design in an urban setting, but it will have a lot of culture and heritage… and this is what these guys have been working so feverishly on… There is so much about Barbados that we want to bring in…. It is an international brand with a Bajan infusion of culture and history… It will be accessible to all of Barbados and all Barbadians in every way.”
An overwhelmingly positive reception was also accompanied by a few concerns surrounding the environmental impact. Questions were raised pertaining to the manner that sewage would be handled by the hotel. Maloney explained that although an EIA was not required for this project by Town and Country Panning that they had more assessment studies done than any other construction project on this island to date and that they have been working with Town and Country planning for the past two years. He added, that a lot of the studies done include things required under an EIA.
Edghill responded to concerns by stating that the hotel would have its own wastewater and sewage treatment plant in the basement of the building. Some of the water would be reused for irrigation and the rest would be handled according to the local standards and regulations for sewage and waste treatment.
“It would not be in our best interest to dispose of our treated water into a government treatment system that wasn’t capable of treating it,” followed Maloney. Maloney indicated that they would do what it took to make sure that the existing infrastructure could withstand the additional requirements.
In response to individually voiced concerns with regards to the nearby historic buildings, the area’s status as a UNESCO world heritage site, and questions surrounding its height, Maloney and Edghill privately explained that the design would provide a much-needed boost to the local economy, jumpstarting efforts to revitalize the city. Maloney also explained that the property would not be much taller than the Central Bank or the nearby Hilton Hotel.
Architectural plans were presented to the audience, indicating relative distances to properties such as the old Empire theatre, clearly revealing that the aesthetic integrity of these structures would be enhanced rather than compromised. Public area diagrams revealed an intended two-tier structure, with a connector in between— an architectural “first” for Barbados. Plans for the interior depicted a colorful cultural fusion between modern and colonial Caribbean design concepts, with special historical touches such as the “Empire Cinema” sign in the bar and historical photos of Barbados on display. Plans for the “Pier Bar” were particularly striking, with its overhanging jetty and an obvious aesthetic complement to the beach.
The hotel would have a “feel and vibe of the local atmosphere” featuring local arts, crafts, food and the way of life of Barbados in a way that other local hotels have yet to achieve.
Indeed, the Hyatt Centric Barbados would not be the first Hyatt to be built on a UNESCO heritage site— the Park Hyatt in Zanzibar, located on Shangani beach, is comprised of two buildings that are rich in cultural and historical significance and reflect Omani architectural influence. Locals use the beach directly in front of the hotel for exercising and fishermen use the area for cultural events. The Park Hyatt in Vienna is also located on a UNESCO heritage site, in a historic 100-year old building. The recently announced construction of a Park Hyatt in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto will also reside on a UNESCO heritage site. The Hyatt has traditionally constructed its properties in keeping with their surrounding environment— this has been a signature element of the Hyatt brand. Indeed, Hyatt’s corporate responsibility platform, Hyatt Thrive emphasizes key corporate values, two of which are “environmental sustainability” and “economic development and investment”. The Hyatt brand also has membership in UN Global Compact, a United Nations initiative based on CEO commitments to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
Additionally, there are real implications for positive environmental spillover, given the quantity of abandoned and derelict buildings in the surrounding area that would be forced to get a facelift, in order to keep up with the brand.
It goes without saying that Barbados’ tourism product can certainly be enhanced by this project; research has shown that globally branded hotels do better than indigenous brands during economic downturns, which is, of course, an important consideration given our grave economic circumstances. Other positive economic spillover effects include the thousands of jobs and job opportunities that would be created during the construction phase and upon completion of the project, and the opportunity to drive business to Bridgetown is significant.
The hotel is expected to open its doors in 2019.