ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Construction work on the Beaches resort project in Antigua should commence between the months of April and May next year, according to Sandals chairman Gordon "Butch" Stewart.
While speaking to a group of Antigua and Barbados journalists on a tour of Beaches Turks and Caicos, Stewart gave an update on the project ear-marked for both countries.
On Antigua, the chairman explained, "We have started the groundwork but in terms of physical work, we are looking at around April/May. We will start off with the building of the cays and suites and move on to the attractions such as an ice-skating rink (a first), waterpark slides, a cinema, an X Box lounge, sesame street camp and other features you have seen firsthand."
The chairman of the Sandals/Beaches group further commented, "The family resort product has done wonderful things for TCI and it will do greater things for the people of Antigua and Barbuda."
The benefits to the Turks and Caicos have included a yearly contribution of US$93 million to the economy, US$1.9 million to cab drivers, US$10.9 million towards utilities and US$37 million in payroll.
Stewart, who has a special relationship with Antigua, having exported Sandals there first, told journalists he has built strong partnerships over the years and is proud to promote the twin-island destination and Sandals when traveling the world.
"I love Antigua. It's just a beautiful island with great people and I know Beaches will add to the development of the country. Already, Sandals earns more foreign currency and provides more employment than any other private company. We have partnerships with taxi drivers, tour operators, shopping centres, vendors, farmers, etc. This will significantly increase with the presence of Beaches. The future of Antigua and Barbuda looks great," Stewart added.
Beaches Antigua will be built on the site of Grand Pineapple and will boast 1-4 bedroom suites, up to 12 restaurants, conferencing facilities and a wide range of exhilarating and unique features. The opening of the US$150 million resort will also triple employment to over 700 in addition to hundreds of construction jobs.