Simon Cowell, Andrew Lloyd Webber and other Celebs May Lose Millions after Legal Battle Threatens Barbados Investment
A spectacular Caribbean resort in which Simon Cowell and Andrew Lloyd Webber have invested millions of pounds is embroiled in a legal dispute amid fears the real estate development may never be completed.
The hotel and villa development in Barbados was billed as the ultimate millionaire’s hideaway, with investors tempted by plans showing luxury Balinese-style properties overlooking coral-white beaches. Villas on the 32-acre Paradise Beach site, which cost up to £18 million, come with an infinity pool, cinema, gym and wine cellar. The neighboring Four Seasons hotel was to also provide 24-hour room service and access to butlers, chefs, waiters and security.
But four years after its launch, the complex – which aims to rival the famous Sandy Lane hotel – is a deserted building site with half-built villas clad in rusting scaffolding, and the developers have yet to secure the funds to finish it.
If they fail, investors – who also include the former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan – could lose their money or have to resort to legal action to recover deposits. One investor, British-based oil firm boss Aidan Heavey, has launched a lawsuit in the Barbados Supreme Court for the return of his £1.3 million deposit. He says developers are in breach of contract for failing to complete his £6.3 million five-bedroom villa by the agreed date of 2010.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is also believed to be affected along with another investor, Capita Group boss Paul Pindar, has written a letter of complaint over a four-year delay to his property.
Former City economist Avinash Persaud, who is overseeing the project, said the developers had raised £79 million of the £95 million they need to build a luxury 110-room hotel, which is crucial to the complex's future. ‘Most of the people who have put down deposits understand that once the financing is in place we can move forward.'
Cowell’s six-bedroom beachfront villa was originally due to be completed in 2011 but that date has now been pushed back to 2015. Mr Persaud said the X Factor creator had been 'very understanding'.
Work on the site ground to a halt three years ago when the original developers ran out of money. Lord Lloyd-Webber said in a statement: 'At the moment we are not a party to any action.'