Fort Clarence Beach expected to reopen in October

...this after major upgrade, investment by new operators - Guardsman Hospitality

BY KELLARAY MILES
Observer Business Writer

Friday, September 13, 2019

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Guardsman Hospitality (GH) is giving the undertaking that the Fort Clarence Beach in Hellshire, St Catherine, which they acquired under a 25-year lease with renewal option from the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) will be ready for use by the general public in October.

This date GH said will follow some major cleanup activities of the beach and surrounding areas.

Speaking at a media tour of the beach area on Wednesday (September 11), Laura Heron, general manager at GH said that work on the venue is slated to begin soon and that GH is anticipating great returns on their capital investment.

“We have made a commitment when we closed the facility on September 1, to be able to transition from the management of UDC to that at GH.

“We will be doing some remedial work and cleanup of the property to be able to open again to the public around the weekend of October 18. during that time we're going to be planning how we are going to phase out the development, so that means that, yes, the beach will be open after October 18, and we'll try as best as possible to make sure that it offers what the public seeks in terms of amenities during that process.

“This is a five-year development plan, meaning we are expecting that all our capital investment will be completed in a five-year phased out period. We're trying our best to keep the property open as best as possible to the public while we are doing the development,” she stated.

In developing the property, GH plans to retain some of the beach's already existing features as much as possible but with significant work to be done on other decrepit ones.

“Planning will ensure that nothing is done that will impact on the environment significantly. we're trying as much as possible to build it out with more sustainable material — things that can withstand the elements here, Heron added.

The popular beach along the Hellshire stretch is expected to be transformed into what Heron described as an entertainment complex, providing “family experiences” through similar type amenities available at its other leased properties such as the Puerto Seco Beach in St Ann.

Heron, who was not able to give a definitive estimated cost of the renovation presently, noting that it was, however, a significant development of which the current development plan is not yet finalised.

“We found that, having now walked the property and done our investigations, some of the things we're going to have to relocate and so that's why the current development plan is not finalised,” she said.

The beach which was previously operated by the UDC is still expected to retain its current entry fee of JMD250 until renovations are completed after which prices will be increased. Heron in her briefing expressed her company's commitment to ensuring this.


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