The new leaseholders of the concession at Horseshoe Bay were introduced to the media at a news conference held this morning by the Minister of Public Works, Lieutenant Colonel David Burch.

The winning bidders are Horseshoe Bay Live (HBL), comprised of Delton Ebbin, Carl Vincent and Devon Simons, who will take over the popular facility on April 1 next year, or earlier if an exit plan by the current leaseholders – Chops Ltd can be worked out.

Their lease expires on March 31, 2021. The new leaseholders have a five-year lease, with the option to renew it for five to 10 years.

According to the Minister, a $3.8 million redevelopment project will begin in November next year to revamp the facility in time for the tourism season in 2022.

HBL beat out a total of 16 groups to operate the facility.

While outlining the background to this changeover, the Minister said: “Having reviewed the last tendering process, the existing lease, and the lessons learnt, plans were put in place to ensure a far better outcome for the next lease period.

“The existing lease for the Beach House Café was granted for a fixed term of 5-years on a full repairing basis and is due to expire March 31st, 2021.

The existing facility is an aged and considered substandard for Bermuda’s prime tourism destination. Therefore, the expiry of the existing lease has presented an opportunity to have an old facility redeveloped and improved for the next leasing period to improve the tourism experience,” he added.

He also noted that the property was “advertised inviting proposals to be submitted for the improvement and operation of the Café commencing at the termination of the current lease”.

“However, in the absence of Government capital funding for the development of the site, consideration has been given to exploring the option of development by the proposed tenant. The initiative was packaged in an open public tender for Request for Proposals (RFP) from interested parties in the hospitality industry.”

Moving forward, he said: “The aspirations of the Government, among others, include: encouraging and providing opportunity for talented or experienced young Bermudian entrepreneurs and supporting the set-up and investments that will stimulate economic growth in the current economic climate.”

The tasks involved in the arrangements and respective timeframes went through the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Evaluation of proposals; shortlisting; presentation and selection of prospective tenant [Timeframe: August – Early September 2020].
  • Phase 2: Approval for selected prospective tenant; offer of development lease; agreement on redevelopment design; drafting and negotiations (Timeframe: November 2020, possibly extending to December 2020)
  • Phase 3: Existing lease expiry, site investigations in preparation for redevelopment arrangements (Timeframe: November 2020 – March 2021)
  • Phase 4: Redevelopment lease commencement; preparations for opening of Café from start of holiday season; acquisition of Development/Planning consent (Timeframe: November 2020 [if early termination can be agreed) -. Termination dates are being negotiated with the current lease holder.
  • Phase 5: Redevelopment project by selected Café tenant/operator; completion and commissioning of new development (Timeframe: November 2020/Mar 2021 – March/April 2022)

The timeframe for RFPs started on March 2nd and closed on July 1st, 2020.

Out of the 16 proposals submitted, the Minister said eight (8) were shortlisted with invites “to make presentations to a joint committee”.

The shortlisted proposals “were scored independently by a panel of six persons from the Ministry of Public Works, Parks Department and the Bermuda Tourism Authority against a thirteen (13) point scoring matrix criteria.

The criteria included; services to be provided, awareness of beach tourism trends, proposed redevelopment design, financial capability, ability to complete within time frame, management ability for beach rentals, environmentally friendly and sustainable services, local employment and visitor benefits.

“This together with overall consideration showing a well thought out plan to support making the Horseshoe Bay Beach facility experience a top tourism destination,” said Colonel Burch.

The eight shortlisted applicants were “narrowed down to the two with the highest scores”, the Minister added.

“Both proposals estimate a capital investment of approximately $3,800,000.00 to redevelop the site.

“The proposed terms of the lease are a five (5) year full repairing lease with a tenant’s option to renew for a further five or ten years, subject to agreement of lease provisions.

“The proposed lease terms assume the current facility will continue in its current format under the new tenant through to the end of the 2021 summer season. In the interim, the successful applicant will finalise designs, gain statutory consents and go through a phased development and approval process with the Ministry of Public Works.”

As a result of “the excellent submissions in hand”, he said: “We now have the opportunity for significant improvements to the Cafe facility and positioned to have a new development to replace the old.”

The final decision came after “intense scrutiny and the challenge of selecting only one of the many excellent submissions” said Minister Burch.

“Working in partnership with the Government as the landlord, the leaseholder will be granted an initial five-year development lease with an option for renewal to be negotiated as part of the lease.”

He also stated that the HBL team is made up of “experienced young Bermudians of the highest caliber in the hospitality industry”

“I am confident they are all up to the task of shouldering the enormous responsibility of offering world-class facilities and services at the most popular and iconic beach in Bermuda,” he said.

“At the moment, we are preparing to take over the Café and ensure preparations are completed for it to resume providing services next April leading up to tourist arrivals.

“As part of the plan, consultations, designs and the Planning & Building Permit process will begin. To that end, a construction team, consisting of representatives from the Department of Public Lands and Buildings and the new leaseholders will be created. This team will be responsible for facilitating the construction of the new development which is scheduled to start in Nov 2021 and be completed by April 2022.”

In the interim, he said: “The Department of Public Lands & Buildings will continue to provide support and work with the team throughout this endeavor to help ensure its success.”

The Minister concluded by saying: “Horseshoe Bay Live are an energetic group of young Bermudians have earned this opportunity and I am sure they will make a success of it.

“I ask the people of Bermuda to support them 100 percent, especially as Bermuda and the world are still coming to terms with the devastation, death, and financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”