Blue Mall takeover imminent, could become Marriott resortPOSTED: 09/19/16 8:57 AM
St.maarten – While all the focus at this moment is on the investment project in Little Bay – a 326-room hotel and 450 apartments – Jeff Berger’s St. Maarten Weekly News reports movement in other areas on the hotel front: the possible demise of the Blue Mall and its conversion into a Marriott Hotel and changes at the Westin in Dawn Beach.
Berger quotes “seasoned sources within the hospitality industry” who claim that Marriott will acquire the Blue Mall and turn it into a resort property.
“We do not know whether Marriott is also talking to Sudi Őzkan, the Turkish billionaire who owns Princess Port de Plaisance and also owns the big empty lot next to Ocean Club on Cupecoy Beach,” Berger wrote. “It would make sensed for Marriott to acquire that property, which is for sale for several million dollars, for waterfront development.”
Berger predicts with some authority that his readers “should expect a takeover of the Blue Mall to happen in the coming months.”
The owners of the condominiums on the upper floors will not lose their ownership rights and privileges, according to Berger.
Berger notes that a Marriott executive talked several years ago to the Verdiers about buying the sapphire resort, but that deal never materialized.
Berger furthermore points out that retailers at the Blue Mall are unhappy with the rent they have to pay: “Some have departed and others will follow, an industry source tells us.”
Berger furthermore reports about the likely rebranding of the Westin hotel in Dawn beach – a move that could happen next year. “Whether this means that the property will be sold by Columbia Essex (the current owner- ed.) to someone else we don’t know. But we do think that changes at this property are inevitable.”
Berger says that the Westin does “very nicely in the winter and not all that bad in the summer” but that it still is not doing the business it would like. To reach its potential, Berger muses, the Westin needs to be able “to handle bigger conventions of a size the island can’t currently accommodate.” He furthermore noted that the Westin needs to adjust its pricing “to meet the reality of stiffening regional competition.”