20 January, 2009

Soft Opening

If Victor is counting on the closing fees at Viceroy to make up his 3% increase in the budget, he will be in trouble. The word on the street is that the planned April “soft opening” at Viceroy is off. Yes, I know that the date you last heard about was Christmas, 2008, then April. But, I am reliably informed that was changed to June without anyone officially telling us about it. Now, even the June date is said to be in doubt. I checked with Viceroy’s liason officer. He assures me that all is on schedule for the soft opening in April.

According to the newspaper report of the Hon Minister of Finance’s presentation on the Budget speech for 2009,

“He said the increase in revenue of $4 million over the 2008 figure was mainly expected from Stamp Duties resulting from alien landholders’ licenses to be issued to purchasers of real estate when the Viceroy project opens for operation in 2009.”

It would be interesting to try to do the math to see what kind of sales they need to generate this kind of revenue!

So, how are the World Class Pools coming on? I have been informed that several of the large pools have been given to local contractors for completion because World Class is way behind schedule. Good to see our local contractors get the business rather than the “professionals” from off-island!

Why are the managers being reassigned? I presume it is because there is nothing here for them to do.

How can they open in April when the restaurant they built on the point will have to be redone? The ground seas that I am told swept through it in December must have cooked the wiring by now.

And, how are the law suits coming along?

Claim No. AXA/HCV No. 2008/0051 - Thomas P Lydon and Sharon K Lydon -v- Barnes Bay Development Limited and Stewart Title Eastern Caribbean. The Claimants are represented by Webster Dyrud Mitchell, the 1st Defendant by Keithley Lake & Associates, and the 2nd Defendant by Caribbean Juris Chambers.

Claim No. AXA/HCV 2008/0061 - Mark Frederickson -v- Barnes Bay Development Ltd (dba Viceroy Resorts & Residences (Anguilla). The Claimant is represented by C.R Hodge & Associates, and the Defendant by Keithley Lake and Associates.

Anyone want to guess what the suits are about?


  1. Thank you Don,
    I don't look at the Anguillian for what is really happening here. Isn't it a joke that most of what is in that newspaper is press releases preapproved by government.Maybe they should look at the Herald and see what news reporting is about. If it wasn't for your blog we would all be blissfully unaware of the serious happenings that will have a major impact on our daily lives. With your information it is easier for us to plan for harder times to come. I feel sorry for all the Anguillians that borrowed money from the banks to develop on their property. They had resisted for years, but now the homes they live in are collateral for those loans and they risk loosing them if they can't rent the apartments.If viceroy delayes opening it will mean that it will be longer before expat workers will be renting them and the mortgage money will have to come from somewhere else. The government that felt the need to tell everyone to build now doesn't feel the need to inform the public of what might affect their livelyhood. It is very dissapointing. I will be listening to the election speeches carefully this year to see if I can find a flower amongst the weeds.

  2. What exactly is "supposed" to be part of the soft opening? How many residences? The hotel? The restaurant? What does Viceroy mean by a soft opening? The Kor hotel chain is not taking reservations for Anguilla, so my guess is the hotel is not part of any opening this year, and the Viceroy web site only has a link for "Buyer Inquiries", not visitor rentals.

    There is no way Viceroy will be finished in April or June - I drove there last week and there is a LOT still to be done. Temenos looks almost as close to completion and we know where that stands. However, at least work is still happening at Viceroy.

    Unfortunately, with either an April of June soft opening (whatever that means), Viceroy will have largely missed this tourist season. I have a feeling that any REAL opening will have to wait until at least next year.

    However, I wish Viceroy the best, as Anguilla needs this project completed and open. I'd just love to have Viceroy provide some new details of what Viceroy realistically thinks will open and when.

  3. 15-Jan-2009

    Change in Directors or Principal Officers

    Item 5.02 Departure of Directors or Principal Officers; Election of Directors; Appointment of Principal Officers.

    On January 9, 2009, FX Real Estate and Entertainment Inc. (the "Company") effected certain changes to its Board of Directors (the "Board") in order to bring the Company into compliance with the NASDAQ Stock Market requirement that the Board be comprised of a majority of "independent directors." Among other things, the changes result in an increase in the number of directors from eight to nine, of whom five are deemed to be "independent directors." On January 9, 2008, the Board appointed John D. Miller and Robert Sudack to serve as directors. Biographical information regarding each of Messrs. Miller and Sudack is listed below. There are no respective arrangements or understandings between Messrs. Miller or Sudack and any other person pursuant to which he was appointed as a director. There are no respective relationships or related transactions between Messrs. Miller or Sudack and the Company of the type required to be disclosed under Item 404(a) of Regulation S-K. Messrs. Miller and Sudack have each been deemed an "independent director" as such term is defined under the rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. At this time, neither Mr. Miller nor Mr. Sudack has been appointed to serve on any committee of the Board.
    Simultaneous with the appointment of Messrs. Miller and Sudak to the Board, Thomas P. Benson, the Chief Financial Officer of the Company, resigned from the Board. Mr. Benson continues to serve as the Company's Chief Financial Officer. Biographical Information
    Mr. Miller is the Chief Investment Officer of W.P. Carey & Co. LLC, a net lease real estate company. Mr. Miller is also a founder and Non-Managing Member of StarVest Partners, L.P., a $150 million venture capital investment fund formed in 1998. From 1995 to 1998 Mr. Miller was President of Rothschild Ventures Inc., the private investments unit of Rothschild North America, a subsidiary of the worldwide Rothschild Group. He was also President and CEO of Equitable Capital Management Corporation, an investment advisory subsidiary of The Equitable where he worked for 24 years beginning in 1969. From February 2005 through January 2009, when he resigned, Mr. Miller served as a director of CKX, Inc. Mr. Sudack is the President and owner of Posterloid Corporation, the world's leading menu board manufacturing company with over $20 million of sales per year, headquartered in Long Island City. Mr. Sudack has also been a private investor in and advisor to various companies for many years.

  4. Regarding your most recent post, the 9.3 million dollar increase in the proposed 2009 budget over the 2008 would be about 3.7 million US. Stamp tax is 17.5% on property for non-belongers, so this would equate to about 20 million US in property sales. Viceroy has stated that it has sold about 83 properties at a minimum of 1 million and 2 million would be a conservative estimate of the average sale. So if 10 or so units were completed, Victor would have his money.

    This is not in defense of Victor or Viceroy. In the face of a very significant recession (depression) he proceeded to increase spending instead of reducing it and using increased revenue (if it materializes) to pay of existing debt. Because of Anguilla's minute economic base resting primarily on one source of income, the island's economic health is on a razor's edge and yet Victor carries on, apparently unaware that the "light at the end of the tunnel" is probably a train.

    Last week it was reported that the CM, on his weekly radio program lamented that all hopes of developing Anguilla "for years to come" have been shattered in light of the current economic situation (to bad he didn't tell Victor).

    So what is "Mr. complete internal self government" going to do about it? He is going to write to Her Majesty's Government and ask for a handout. That's quite a plan - thoughtful, insightful and absolutely pathetic. So he and Evans are going to St. Kitts to attend the OECS Monetary Council to discuss the financial position of the world. I am sure they could use his insight. Anguilla would benefit more if they stayed home and saved the expenditure.

  5. The Dept. of Information and Broadcasting sent out a news announcement on 21 October 2004 that reads in part:

    "The KOR Group is very excited to bring its vice way brand to Anguilla".

    I thought at the time this was a mistake, but maybe they knew more than they were saying.

  6. The 17.5% transfer tax and stamp duty do not apply in the same manner to Flag, Viceroy, Conch Bay and probably others. There is an annual fee instead of the big 17.5% hit. Over time, it will amount to considerably more than 17.5%, so it's not a free ride.

    Hubert and others have been screaming about these rich foreigners being exempted from the alien land holding tax. Of course he fails to mention the annual tax that replaces it.

    The reason a lot of us keep voting for a dishonest government is because we know that the opposition is perhaps even worse. So we prefer to vote for the devil we know.

  7. Four days ago I read this in the Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer:

    "Anguilla, already the home of famed upscale resorts such as Cap Juluca and CuisinArt, gets yet another big-name player in April when the Kor Group, whose Viceroy brand has planted its flag in places like Palm Springs, South Beach and the Riviera Maya, officially opens the Viceroy Anguilla (800-357-1930; www.viceroyanguilla.com). Accommodations include a 486-square-foot room with an ocean view and a private pool. Rooms start at about $750 a night. In low season (June-October) rooms start around $550. (All rates in this story are per night, double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.)

    So I've been calling this number for four days and there's no answer. What does THAT mean?

  8. I have now reached the 800 number and the frustrated Viceroy employee says no, not April, maybe June, but my friend needs to call someone in Miami to make sure.

    Full report to follow.

    So they're even lying to poor Seymour!

  9. The guy in Miami says they expect to be open in October or November. They will be having some limited number of guests before that, but he's not sure when, exactly, and it sounds like some rooms surrounded by construction noise.

    I have a message for Seymour Hodge, the liaison officer. You're a nice man. You served Anguilla well for many years in New York. The situation between Viceroy and government was an abomination and you were hired to try to bring peace and reason to everyone. That's good. You're working for people who don't have the decency to be honest with you. That's not good. You trust them. That's not good either. Others have warned you. You continue to trust them. Now they have you shovelling their shit. You don't need this. Please remind them that they're guests on our island and the least they can do is be honest with us and with you.

    Maybe they forgot that you're an Anguillian.

  10. A couple nights ago the American Eagle came in less than a third full. What if Rainbow takes away half their passenger loan and American says they've decided not to serve Anguilla any more, just like Caribbean Star did?

    So then we're totally dependent upon Kirby Hodge to get visitors and residents here from San Juan and when his contract is up and it's time to re-negotiate, will Kirby help Anguilla or help Kirby?

    This whole rotten scheme amounts to Donna Banks stabbing American in the back and hoping they don't take offense. If this doesn't work, if something goes terribly wrong, what is Plan B Ms. Banks?

  11. Anyone who has built anything, especially in Anguilla, knows it is not easy and always takes longer than expected. I think we should be grateful that the people behind Viceroy continue to invest in this project and in Anguilla despite the worst global economic conditions since the Depression. In my opinion there has been a lot of progress in the last 2 years since they started working on the hotel and villa buildings. It is time we show some appreciation rather than continue to bash this project. It is one of the only positive things Anguilla has going for it right now. Would you rather see them walk away from it like Flag did and destroy any chances of creating jobs for Anguillians? What are we going to do if that project shuts down? This country would be ruined.

  12. Dear Anonymous Above: I think you may be missing the point here. Don’s intent was not to bash Viceroy – I think everyone here feels as you do – thank God they are still open with full employment. The purpose of Don’s posting is to question how smart it is to increase the 2009 AXA budget by 3% and give large salary increases, and then depend on fees from the Viceroy project that appears to be behind schedule to meet this increase. From what is being heard on island, an April opening will not happen – at least for the villas - but there is no clarification from GoA about this, nor any plan put forth to meet any budget shortfall – other than improving collections, which has been in every budget speech since 2000. Kudos to Viceroy for sticking with us through these tough times – but the 2009 AXA budget is a whole other subject.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.