An artist impression of the hotel tower block.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Alex Lodde, co-founder of A&A Capital Inc., a private equity firm, on Tuesday, turned the sod to mark the official beginning of construction of the US$60 million Royal Mill Resort and Residences.

The facility, located in Ratho Mill, will have 80 luxury hotel rooms in a 12-storey building, which will be the nation’s tallest.

It will also have 15 luxury residence homes, two penthouses, and 18 apartments, along with luxury shops, a business centre, conference/meeting centre, a large gym and other ancillary facilities, according to the company’s website.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of this year, the website says.

In terse remarks at the ceremony at the construction site in Ratho Mill, Lodde thanked the prime minister for the opportunity to invest in St. Vincent and said that his company will not disappoint.

“…I think this is just a great opportunity to create jobs, to create ancillary businesses, to do a great job and put our big star on the map,” Lodde said.

Delivering remarks during the ceremony, Minister of Finance and Parliamentary Representative for East St. George, Camillo Gonsalves, said the project “is the most ambitious hospitality construction project anywhere on mainland St. Vincent at the moment”.

He mentioned some of the project’s features, including the 12-storey hotel tower.

“And you can imagine it, looking up on the hill coming from Calliaqua and coming from Biabou, driving around the corner and seeing this towering, gleaming white structure on a hill overlooking all of this wonderful landscape.”

The minister said Royal Mill will be of a style of architecture that exists nowhere else in the country and will employ over 200 Vincentians during the construction phase and a similar number on completion.   

He said that five years ago, he had said that East St. George and Calliaqua and its environs would become a hub for tourism in SVG, and one of the best  in which to live, work, and socialise, not only in the country but also in the Caribbean.

It started with a number of small steps, Gonsalves said, noting that the government cleaned up the ships’ graveyard on Canash Bay.

“And it certainly wouldn’t be a particularly good view on this hill of the Royal Mill hotel if the hotel guests and millionaire investors looked out their window and saw a graveyard for ships.”

Gonsalves said that the government cleaned up the area, buying into businessman Kelly Glass’ vision for Canash Bay to be a “centre for yacht tourism in the southern Caribbean.

“And all of a sudden, this location because that much more attractive,” he said of the site where Royal Mill will be built.

He said that the government has said it would attract businesses to the area through attractive concessions and selling the natural advantage of East St. George – “its location, its intelligent and hard-working people and its natural assets”.

Gonsalves said that businesses began to arrive, saying that first among them was the One St. Vincent Group — which moved from Fountain to Glen.

He mentioned Rainforest Seafoods, which will establish a seafood plant in Calliaqua.

“And then we heard that this particular piece of land was going on sale,” he said, noting that the land was privately owned and that A&A Capital is also a private institution.

“The government had nothing to do with their interest in the land or their purchase of the land. It was a private entity buying from another private entity but we are thrilled that the people who bought it had plans to develop it into a major hub for tourism, for employment in the constituency and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The company has already imported millions of dollars in equipment and material to begin construction, Gonsalves said, adding that the timeline for construction is “very ambitious”.

“And I am a big fan of ambitious timelines and ambitious investors,” he said, adding that to achieve that timeline in a community setting where they would have to be sensitive to residents, would require a lot of manpower and constant supervision by the A&A team.

“We are hopeful that you can meet those deadlines, because after we get the 200 odd people in construction hired, they tell me that 200 odd people will be employed in the hotel itself, in the hospitality services.

“And in that regard, I would like to point out that currently there are 249 young Vincentians getting associate degrees in hospitality, culinary arts, and tourism studies, at the Community College just down the road.”

The minister said the government believes that the investment is a manifestation “of what we are trying to do in the government, not only in East St. George but across the country.

“As I said before, we didn’t go out and find them, we didn’t solicit them, we didn’t bring them here. They found this opportunity on their own but they found it because the government has created a conducive environment for investment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and because we have cleaned the environment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and because we are educating a talented workforce in St. Vincent and  the Grenadines and because we hung a little shingle under our name that says, ‘St. Vincent and  the Grenadines — open for business’,” Gonsalves said.

32 replies on “$60m Royal Mill hotel to be SVG’s tallest building”

  1. Growing youth says:

    Waste a time people dont even have place to stay
    Nuikding one place down mt wynne that aint even finish buccama resort day sane thing now u want put 12 story building

    Better u gave poor people the money and let them try better themselves

  2. Tourism is Key says:

    Right! You are going to build a luxury hotel but SVG was the only Caribbean country that was missing from this marketing event. When Svg is going to take tourism seriously? We have a rich and diverse tourist product but we lack the leadership and vision to capitalize on this natural resource. While SVG is failing to see their tourism potential other nearby islands are using it as part of their tourism marketing strategy. SVG tourism industry needs visionaries and solid leadership , this is not about politics! When would people wake up and see the economic potential of a well managed tourism industry.

    I challenge the government to reach out to the other. Caribbean countries who are benefiting for tourism and implement a few of their destination development strategies .

  3. There is no way that can finished this year!!! Just another hoax, BIG TIME …..
    Stop fooling the people !!!Time for you guys to leave and go […]
    Move Ralph,MOVE!!!

    1. Yes the Argyle International airport was a hoax too to many of the doubting Thomas(es) but it right before them and so will this one. But interestingly this is a private investor doing this, bout the doubting Thomas(es) only see Politics, interestingly also, this is a spinoff off the Argyle International Airport. [Build it the the investors will come and they are coming and building hotels opening job opportunities for the young, old and future generations.

      1. The Airport took YEARS to build racking up more debt for the country while putting more money in the ministers pocket. Will this building ever be build. Who knows. Have they started yet? Who knows how long it will take this time.

      2. Spence they may be a private investor but have no experience in building and operating hotels. I doubt them because of their choosing a secondary site for an expensive building, simply does not stack up.

    2. Dear Fed Up, you are quite right. There is no way this can be finished this year even if they have already started. Its a two year project, nine years if they use Cuban contractors.

  4. Curious. So next december (12/2020) there will be a 12 storey high building at Ratho Mill? A lot of building materials will be imported too? Jobs for 200 to 400 Vincies? The Contractors in SVG must be laughing now? All this in an election year.
    Well, if the company made a contract with the Government[People] of SVG then whoever is the Prime Minister has to honor that Contract. Or, is this deal dependent on Gonsalves staying at the helm for another term? Are you going to operate that business 10 or 20 years tax-free? Suddenly. Since Gonsalves come back from Russia he emboldened? Announcing big budgets and Multimillion dollar projects. What business of the people did he go to Moscow for?
    OK. This looks like the carrot before the donkey nose. (like in the cartoons) And it don’t smell good.
    This looks like the end-game to another scheme but this time the douche(bag) actually announced the intent to set-up the project. (In the other case they say it was for political gains and abuse of power)
    Where is the Opposition in all this? So many questions, curious.

    1. “R”, you are right to ask all the questions. You and I and James H and many, many others on in disagreement of the economic philosophy of our Prime Minister. However, we disagree very much in foreign Policy and things related to it. Yes, Socialism does not work and although we are not a Socialist country we do have all the worst elements of Socialism combined with the worst elements of Capitalism. It is a wonder we exist at all. It may be because we are a small country and we borrow the most from countries that for certain reasons are allowing us long deferment times for us to repay them.
      I do not share your opinion of Russia being evil and the USA being “good”. I have learned by first-hand experience that the opposite is more true. If the Prime Minister did return from Russia with optimism, that is great! If I were a leader I would much rather have financial dealings with Russia than the USA.

      None of us know any of the particulars of this project. Maybe Ralph Gonsalves has finally woken-up and realized his philosophy of taxing everything into poverty is counterproductive! Maybe those of us that have spent all these years showing him that his usual philosophy makes …

      POVERTY INEVITABLE AND PROSPERITY IMPOSSIBLE. ( I doubt he has changed but “those without hope shall perish”). We should all hope he is finally waking up and a better philosophy will take hold of him and will apply to all those in poverty,… and it is not just an election gimmick. The increase in government jobs tells me he has not changed and we can expect more tax increases if he wins the election.

      Usually the government, (probably the former NDP government as well) give foreign investors terms that guarantee that they will operate here for a time then run out as fast as they can after they have to pay all the exorbitant taxes. No investor wants to pay excessive taxes and Customs Duties that guarantee your business will fail. Most of the Caribbean Governments seem to either lack the brains or maybe just care so little for thier countries that they just do not allow an environment where business can export and be profitable. I have never understood how Ralph Gonsalves can be so intelligent in some ways but be totally deficient in economic smarts.
      It is up to foreign investors to build any of these expensive projects in SVG because Vincentians have had all the money sucked out of them, except Kelly Glass.. The taxes and duties and fees have sucked all the wealth out of the Vincentian private sector. All the big expensive buildings in Kingstown over the past 20 years have been built by the government: The BOSVG Building, NIS Building, Customs Building,etc… How many expensive buildings has the Vincentian Private Sector built in that time?…None!

      Maybe that tells us where all the money goes.
      I have not heard any announcement that the government is going to allow us to keep more of the money that we have earned, so I wonder what concessions the government has granted this investor.

      1. Jamal, thank you for your comment. I was buried under a ton of work for the past few weeks that I didn’t have time to respond. I know for a fact that Vincies are mostly honest and hard-working people. Most Vincies I’ve met during my travels were all decent hard-working people. Now imagine we were in our own country with that work ethic.

        As you know I am in total disagreement with the current government. I don’t trust the man who has been in power for twenty years. Something is wrong right there. It is not normal. On top of the fact that SVG is way behind everybody else in everything. They are accumulating personal wealth.

        I know Russians, I’ve had a few Russian, Ukrainian German and Polish lovers in my lifetime. Very intelligent people. I mean they have high IQ’s, are interesting under the covers and are very proud people.
        I’m also an avid football fan and I follow world sport. From that, I know. that Russians have some of the worst reputations when it concerns racism, Like in England if you are a foreigner, you are in a different category. As in most countries, the native people comes first. On the face of it there’s nothing wrong with that but when you start acting as if you are superior to and dissing others that’s just not right.

        The US is just an extension of Europe, So is Canada and Australia. The new world order means that the West comes first and then the rest. With the rise of Trump, we see the face of white supremacy rearing its ugly head. When he is done the world will never be the same.

        In SVG it is the millionaires who have the power. Now anybody can become a millionaire but some people do in such a sleazy way, People like Gonsalves, McKee, most politicians and Judges in SVG. Crony illicit Capitalism. (thieving) While the sail of the soil suffer. I don’t agree with that type of thing.

        We hope that almighty God is going to come and correct everything, make our country rich and prosperous so we don’t have to export all the talent for others to benefit while our people live and die under the yoke of bad government.

        Lots of respect to you, James, Jolly and a few others. Take care.

        r

  5. Wow! I am not surprised the first to make negative comments on something positive that will provided job, so that the clame people that don’t have somewhere to stay, that they can now get a job, make money and provide themselves a place to stay, are alway the negative thinking people and the doubting Thomas. If the Vincentians population was full of only such people, our nation will never make it to or never pass the other countries they so love to praise over their own country.

  6. valcina latham says:

    Good news for SVG I cannot wait to see the end results, I know with an international airport it will bring in investors, I pray that I will be completed within the year if not it still good for SVG because people will be employed, Good job PM Gonsalves keep the investors coming.

    1. I’m proud of what the government is doing for the island. Yes, we’ll always have the doubting Thomas. These are people who are not visonaries. All they are good at is to sit on the sideline and criticize.
      I’m looking forward to visiting my home land, taking friends to show off our beautiful island.

      Keep up the excellent work Prime Minister Gonsalves!

      1. Catecha, they have had nineteen years of failure, surely we must question this project when you examine the dire track record of the ULP, Gonsalves and the dynasty. We have an election just around the corner so they will announce just about anything even if it’s not true.

        Everything they touch is a failure, they just have no idea about the selection process. Or perhaps they do but have different criteria.

      2. There are a lot of unknown never used before names here, some I suspect is the ULP make wrong right brigade brought in prior to the election to make wrong appear right.

  7. WOW election gemic 12 story luxury building at Ratho Mill. “Can you imagine looking up the hill coming from Calliqua and coming from Biabou driving around the corner and seeing this gleaming towering white structure on a hill overlooking all this wonderful landscapes “. Fool a talk but not ass a listen. . I hope Vincentians doesn’t swallow these oral meds they already expired .

  8. Well, my mother died in our 18th century hospital last year while on vacation from America because their equipment was outdated and everything was covered in dust. Maybe, you should consider building a medical facility for all of these tourists.

    1. Likewise people life are past away in American Hospital with all their up to date equipment. Likewise also all hospital all over the world people die. Since when does going to any hospital is a guaranty that you will walk out with life in you?

  9. Hotels guests houses and the airport have to be accompanied by a decent and up to date with functional hospital .
    The guest would not come too fill them if their medical needs are not going to be met in case of emergencies.
    Tell the comrade [email protected]

  10. with an article like this I just dont bother read , ……..I just go straight to read the comments , especially the the political tribal ones ……….lol

    that said we should have questions and a concern voice even if this is a private investment

  11. Thanks you PM, for your vision, and taking a stand for the development of our country.
    We the private citizens need to join in and do our part, come together be creative start our own business, we have so much natural resources, we are always on the phone, computers ect. Used that as a resource, get ideas example start a natural herb garden, knit your hats and baskets, design your website for marketing your products.
    Be more polite to our visitor and friends, they don’t have to know your personal feelings about them, because of our own selfesteem. Just smile and say hello!

    To the haters STOP hating and do your part for the better of yourself and the country.
    “Ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”

  12. If this project is being built by private investors what all the fuss about it not the country money spending, but i will realy like the primeminister to do something with our healthcare service.

  13. Luann A Hadaway says:

    The Health Care, Roads, Beaches, and all other physical infrastructure are cheaper and easier to fix.

    How are we going to fix the mentality of Vincentians that have been messed up with handouts and poor relief.

    We have the worst customer service in the region!!! Our people are rude!!
    How are they going to take and carry out instructions??
    When you have a ‘miserable’ hotel guest, how will a worker cope with the clash of attitudes??

    Tourism starts and end in the Grenadines. The Grenadines people are polite, friendly and service oriented. My advise is to pump Tourism monies into the Grenadines and let the mainland deal with growing food to feed themselves and the spill off from the Grenadines.

    1. Interesting that you should say that. however, the grenadines and st.vincent is one nation. the big island has it’s own character, beauty and charm. it still hosts idilic caribbean villages and sea-side towns, beautiful gardens and an end to end rainforest with streams and waterfalls. Native island people are all related in one way or another. which brings me to the question.: are you a native or a relative of the wealthy foreigners living here? How ironic?

  14. Arthur durrant says:

    You need proper roads in and out of this project in order for it to function.
    I want these the updated road structure that will be needed for the excess traffic.

    1. You are of course quite right Arthur. There should be a roundabout on the main highway to accommodate ingress and egress to the site. No exit from the site should be directly onto the main road. Its a busy and extremely dangerous stretch of road.

  15. It looks great, but the location despite having great views the higher the floor, it is not waterfront property, it has no access to a beach, its a first class building in a secondary position.

    A real professional hotel company would have rejected this site for this kind of project, it just does not fit the bill for a 60million spend.

    There are locally better more superior waterfront sites, cheaper, and a nice adjacent beach.

    Something smells a bit off.

    Storm, daddy must be proud of you.

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