Property Row Goes to Court

Thursday 04th, October 2012 / 08:26 Written by

Harcourt Developments (Bahamas) Limited, Driftwood Freeport Limited and the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) are all named in court papers outlining what could turn out to be a lengthy legal battle with Club Baha Ltd., over easement rights.

The writ was filed on December 2011, but the property row began long before and stems from an initial agreement between the GBPA, Driftwood and the government which allowed the diversion of a portion of Sunrise Highway, a major thoroughfare, to accommodate a man-made beach on site.

The move, according to Club Baha, was a major breach and ultimately denied its guests access.

Club Baha Ltd. is being represented by Sears & Co., of Nassau, while Valentine Grimes & Co. is expected to represent Driftwood.

Driftwood, the former owners of the Crowne Plaza Golf Resort and Casino at the Royal Oasis, shut down the property and pulled out in mid-September of 2004 after two devastating hurricanes.

Government then sold the 427-acre property to the Harcourt Development Group to the tune of $33 million in 2007.

The Ireland-based company had plans to transform the property into a high-quality tourist destination after the deal was complete. But it remains defunct.

However, court documents filed by Club Baha Ltd., the developer of Freeport Resort & Club, allege that the Bahamas Constitution and its Easement Agreement was breached when government and the GBPA allowed the diversion.

Freeport Resort & Club is situated at the rear of the Royal Oasis property on Rum Cay Drive and Spywalk and developed by Club Baha.

Developer Jack Grobowsky is the president of Freeport Resort & Club who had purchased several undeveloped parcels of land in the Bahamia subdivision known as Bahamia from Princess Realty Limited between 1977 and 1979.

According to court documents, in 2000, Driftwood allegedly breached an original agreement between Club Baha and the former owners of the then Princess Properties.

Club Baha is suing Harcourt Developments and Driftwood Freeport Limited for damages.

The suit against Harcourt specifically is to have the easement access between Club Baha’s property and the Freeport International Bazaar reopened.

Additionally, the developer’s claim against the GBPA is for damages for the breach of the terms of a written approval from April 7, 1981, which granted Freeport Resort footpath access.

Also, the developer is seeking an injunction to prevent the GBPA, its agents or related companies, or any entities who now hold the title to that portion of the highway that was diverted, from conveying that portion of the diverted Sunrise Highway, which was used to build the man-made beach, until all matters relating to Baha Club’s rights of access are fully resolved.

The matter is expected to get under way in the Supreme Court this week.

By Lededra Marche
Freeport News Editor

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