PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Investors are planning a new sight for arrivals at Port-au-Prince's international airport: A seven-story, 240-room luxury hotel rising just past the runway.
The $33 million project announced Monday is one of the largest private investment efforts since the catastrophic Jan. 12 earthquake. Planned for private land that has not been developed in decades, in an area surrounded by slums, the hotel is seen by its backers as a critical step in attracting further development and investment to the impoverished country.
The magnitude-7 earthquake killed a government-estimated 300,000 people and left millions homeless. It also destroyed or damaged most of the capital's few high-end hotels, most notably the total collapse of the Hotel Montana near the mountain suburb of Petionville.
"For the reconstruction of Haiti to begin, the guys who are going to build it need a place to stay," partner Edmund Miller told The Associated Press.
About a third of the funding for the currently unnamed hotel will come from private investors including Argentine energy mogul and developer Ronaldo Gonzalez-Bunster and Haiti's powerful Mevs family, which owns the property.
The rest will be requested from lending organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, Miller said.