St Helena Government and Enterprise St Helena are working closely together to explore options for developing a hotel in Jamestown. Mantis Development has been commissioned to produce design and build costs for two options:
A New Build, or
A Refurbished Option (using existing SHG buildings in Main Street)
We are awaiting the outcome of this design and build work to help determine which option is preferable.
In the meantime, a hotel company (St Helena Hotel Development Limited – SHHDL) has been established to take the project forward. Initially this company will be wholly Government-owned until plans are finalised, at which point shares will be issued to investment partners. Options for the sale of further shares will be considered later in the project. At the same time, the hotel company is seeking initial expressions of interest from suitable contractors for a design and build contract for the hotel. This has been advertised both locally and internationally to provide us with a good field of potential contractors for this work.
SHG and ESH have taken these steps to help secure a hotel for St Helena to augment the existing accommodation offering. This is an ambitious project to achieve in a relatively tight timeframe, but it is absolutely vital when the Airport opens that there is sufficient, good quality accommodation available to cater for weekly arrivals.
In parallel with this, Enterprise St Helena is developing new business support schemes to be announced soon, targeted at local accommodation and hospitality businesses. The idea is to provide tailored packages of support to businesses, including business advice and financing, with a view to increasing local accommodation stock by the end of 2015. Existing and new local accommodation and hospitality businesses will be offered targeted support – to improve the current offering both in terms of quality and quantity.
Susan O’Bey of Enterprise St Helena said:
“This is a crucial project which aims to ensure that the huge investment in the Airport will be maximised. The hotel, which we hope could eventually be locally owned, will go some way towards assuring potential airlines and tour operators, acting as a catalyst for other tourism development on St Helena.”
Councillor Lawson Henry commented:
“It is clear that St Helena has huge potential once our Airport becomes operational, but ours is still an untested market and we have not yet attracted outside hotel investment. This initiative, by both SHG and ESH, will go some way in providing confidence to the market and potential airline services and operators.
“I hope that the hotel will eventually be locally owned, and Saints will have an opportunity to buy into this when the share options are announced. This is what the whole Airport project is designed to do – to bring about opportunities for all Saints – and now we have to take up the mantle. As the Governor said at the Airport ceremony last Saturday: ‘It’s time for change, to adjust to the new realities and to grip new opportunities’. I commend SHG and ESH for taking this brave initiative in the face of continued global financial uncertainty.”