About a year ago I wrote and analyzed the whole Ritz-Carlton topic, and wrote a very extensive and well thought out piece, even if I have to say so myself. The Ritz certainly brought a lot of commentary both locally and internationally, both positive and negative. Someone even blasted me anonymously on this website for my seemingly willy nilly support for the Ritz project. I’ve replied extensively. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I would like to offer some additional thoughts.
Off the bat I would like to reiterate that I support this project, for the reasons mentioned in last year’s article. At the same time, I share similar concerns expressed by critics about the whole development and especially how it came about. I’m particularly offended by the secretiveness the whole project was set up. The blame for this lies 100% with the island officials for allowing the process to go forward this way.
To have a better overview and feel for the subject matter I’ve decided to go to Palm Beach, near the construction site and spend a few hours there, talking to people and just watching. I made sure to spend time walking around the beach, being in the water and the road nearby where I put together my thoughts.
The hours I spend there made me draw several conclusions. Firstly, I didn’t see locals using that piece of beach. Not one. Obviously I was there relatively a short time, but still. Secondly, that piece of beach is way too small to handle a resort of the size proposed by Ritz Carlton. Groups that certainly have a claim there are the water sport service providers and environmental groups. Ultimately island officials made the decision [within their legal right and popular support] to allow the construction to go forward.
And yet a very vocal group is against it. There are even groups popping up online, such as a Facebook group with thousands of members rallying against the Ritz. Protests against the construction have been organized but were mostly poorly attended. I’m not sure what to make of that. I think more people think like me. I don’t want more construction, but if it’s been approved legally, we should support it. Change the law so this doesn’t happen again.
The latest I’ve heard about the project is that the government is still trying to find another location for the construction and no construction permit has been given, yet.
Another location? Where? The Westin? This building has administrative issues, so it could be a target. The Radisson? Rumors suggest, it could be for sale. The Radisson GM denies this. Occidental? Perhaps. I’m don’t think it’s for sale, but if The Ritz could replace Occidental this would mean a huge step forward in terms of quality. Holiday Inn? Not likely, the resort has long term contracts making it unattractive as a take over target.
This story will keep making news throughout the year. To be continued.