Raiz calls for an urgent moratorium on resort/hotel/condo construction

I know for a fact that the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association has asked GOA for a list of pending projects questioning how many more hotel rooms are in the pipeline. What was promised? What was approved?

There is no such list.

On Aug 28th Raiz, a relatively new political party, published an interesting overview of projects being developed, which I decided to reproduce for you in my column.

According to Raiz, following a survey in 2016, 87% of the locals, expressed their concern over the island’s exponential growth and did not support it.

If all reported projects materialize, Aruba will require 24,000 more people by 2020, yet lamentably, besides approving building permits there is no visionary infrastructure plan to accommodate the water & electric consumption, trash disposal needs, educational opportunities, housing or medical care for that new inevitable mass of immigrants.

And while the public continues to voice concerns, and sees no reason to expand the economy via construction of more rooms, GOA ignores the distress signals and new projects keep entering the already clogged pipeline.

Examples:

An Embassy Suites on the border of Eagle Beach below Divi Phoenix, 330 hotel rooms, to open 2021.

Hyatt Place Hotel at the airport, 116 hotel rooms, to open 2019.

Tierra del Sol, reportedly has a life-saving deal with Iberostar for 400 hotel rooms, with construction starting late 2018, to open early 2022.

ACQUA condominium the longest building project on earth, with 209 units, to open 2019, while the second phase with 400/500 more rooms is planned to open in 2022. The property will operate as a 4 or 5-star franchise, EP, brand unannounced.

Marriott Residence Inn, in the Bubali Caribe Complex, 220 hotel rooms, in 2 phased. Phase I with 150 hotel rooms, phase 2 with 70 hotel rooms, starting in 2019. According to developer Palm Aruba, the property is set to open 2022.

The conversion of the Holiday Inn will be the following: 400 hotel rooms branded as Panama Jack, ready in 2019 after a 9-month reno period. Then an addition of 644 new hotel rooms is planned out of which 424 will open in 2022, and 220 in 2025.

The article by Raiz states that the two existing towers will be flagged as Hyatt Zilara All Inclusive, and that IHG, the current operator will retain 215 hotel rooms in a boutique format branded as a Klimpton Hotel.

Eagle Grand Beach Hotel, 240 hotel rooms starting 2019. Developer Palm Aruba intends to open mid-2022.

Grand Harbor Resort & Water Park on Eagle Beach, 400 hotel rooms starting in 2022. Also developed by Palm Aruba, ready in 2025.

Possible 900 all inclusive rooms at Seroe Colorado, under the AM Hotels flag, no date yet, the first phase is said to include 500 hotel rooms probably open in 2023.

The Marriott had asked for a permit to change the land designation in the area south of the Riu Palace Antillas, and proposed to build a 310-hotel room St. Regis there to open 2022.

Timeshare/Condo Resorts

Divi Phoenix Beach Resort is planning 135 more suites, ready mid 2021

Condo Azure, south of Blue Residence, counts 106 units to open 2019.

The neighboring Las Olas tower, 49 condos, in 2019.

Le Vent, behind Paradise Beach Resort, 40 condos, plus 5 townhouses, opening next year.

O Condominiums is building 43 units, also on Eagle Beach, possibly opening in 2019.

Grand Bubali Condos, 76 units, including a Residence Inn, to open 2022, by developer Palm Aruba.

Amsterdam Manor, 90 condominiums, to open in 4 phases: January 2020, 24 units; January 2021, 21 units; January 2022, 24 units, and finally January 2023, 21 units.

Wanglo Suits, in front of Super food, North of the Tropicana Resort. Details.

According to Raiz, in April 2018, GOA indicated that 3,500 to 7,000 rooms are in the pipeline, approved by the previous government. The approvals include hotels, condos, timeshare resorts and apartments.

Looking at the immediate numbers it is safe to say that Aruba will have more than 3,200 new hotel rooms by 2023, meaning that we will require 17,000 new workers, at those newly created work places.

Traditional politicians feel they require construction to show tangible economic growth — to help get them reelected – but Raiz states that Aruba is running out of space, and unless you build in designated green area, there is no more room for such an irresponsible, rampant expansion.

Raiz points the exponential growth out and draws the attention to corruption opportunities, where money changes hands under the table and where permits are granted by-passing proper channels and procedures.

Raiz is asking, how is it possible that a developer gets to build a project without proper business registrations and legal permits?

Are projects on the island “slipping through fingers?”

The article concludes with a call for an immediate MORATORIUM.  

(This list is incomplete because overview information is not available)

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August 30, 2018
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