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New Secrets Resort adds overwater suites

The proposed Secrets Resorts & Spa hotel to be built in the parish of St Ann will employ 1,600 people once it is is up and running, but is projected to create thousands more jobs throughout its construction and operation.

The development will comprise 715 rooms, inclusive of its newly revealed overwater suites, according to the environmental impact assessment or EIA report.

At peak, the construction workforce will include about 1,000 tradesmen and labourers, but the project will otherwise create “approximately 3,800 indirect and induced jobs” during development of the hotel at Richmond in the garden parish.

An induced job refers to the employment that is said to arise from the spending of direct and indirect employees on consumer goods and services.

“Once fully operational, the hotel expects to employ approximately 1,600 people. This should create approximately 6,080 indirect and induced jobs. To the extent practicable, the client will utilise local skills and labour for construction and operation of the hotel,” stated the report that was done by CL Environmental Company Limited on behalf of hotel developer Richmond Vista Limited.

Overall, the new Secrets hotel is expected to spur the creation of more than 12,000 jobs throughout its development and operation.

The timeline for the start of construction was not disclosed, but previous Government of Jamaica filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States had indicated a 2023 start date for construction. The Ministry of Finance generally provides information on large hotel investments in the annual SEC filings.

Although the Secrets hotel project for Richmond has been reported on in the past, CL Environmental indicated in its report that among those surveyed just 10.5 per cent of people residing in proximity to the hotel site were aware of the project.

About a quarter of the surveyed residents, from a sample of 356 people, had negative views of the planned development, citing issues such as increased traffic, loss of beach access, loss of view and increased influx of criminals and hustlers.

More than a third of them, 36 per cent, felt that the hotel project would affect their lives, with most expecting increased income, employment opportunities and property appreciation.

Richmond Vista Limited’s directors are Ole Moe, Carlos Moleon, Francisco Juque-Garcia and Salvador Luque-Garcia.

Luque-Garcia is also chairman of Seawind Key Investments, the company behind the Secrets St James and Secrets Wild Orchid hotels in Montego Bay.

The Secrets hotel in Richmond will rise seven-storeys high and occupy a 22-acre property. It will be developed in two phases, but the timeline for second, which will take two to four years to complete, will be dependent on market conditions.

The cost of the development was not disclosed in the report, but the GOJ SEC filings had put a price tag of US$210 million on what was then a 700-room project. The plans then did not include the 15 overwater suites.

Richmond Vista Limited will tackle the 15 overwater bungalows during the first phase, which will also incorporate 500 hotel rooms. The other 200 rooms will be done in the second phase.

The new Secrets hotel is one of 16 big developments in the pipeline, representing investments of about US$2.3 billion.

Over five years to 2027, those 16 hotel ventures are projected to add 10,300 new rooms to the stock.

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