MovieTowne boss eyeing elaborate hotel next door, entering ‘agri’ business

-- Says business opportunities plentiful in Guyana

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By Vishani Ragobeer

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When one thinks of family entertainment in Guyana, the MovieTowne Mall and shopping complex is one of the places that comes to mind. The massive facility is situated near the seawall at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown and features a cinema complex, a shopping mall and a still-developing food court.

MovieTowne is an established brand in Trinidad and Tobago, with three facilities there. But Chairman Derek Chin, who was born in Guyana but moved to Trinidad as a boy, says that he wants to amplify MovieTowne Guyana by establishing a hotel, replete with many attractions.

In an interview with the News Room during a recent visit to Guyana, Chin said that he was invited by President Dr. Irfaan Ali to get involved in hotel development and he is hoping that he can do so just next door to the mall.

“… We created and got involved with investors to submit a tender on the lands next door and it is called the Riverwalk of Georgetown which is a copycat of the Riverwalk in San Antonio Texas,” Chin said.

He highlighted that the hotel – a Double Tree hotel- would include many attractions including a man-made river where patrons can dine beside, boutiques and even a small museum. And it is expected that this section of Turkeyen would be an icon for family entertainment with the complex and hotel situated side-by-side.

The MovieTowne mall

The potential site for the hotel belongs to the State, however. As such, Chin has been experiencing some challenges in getting approval for the land.

During his trip to Guyana last week also, Chin met with President Ali alongside other government officials. And, he is optimistic that he can be successful in his bid to establish this hotel here in Guyana.

But, Chin is not confining himself to the entertainment industry. In fact, he said that the investment climate in Guyana, at the moment, inspires much business confidence and he is eyeing Guyana’s agricultural sector.

“… well you know I might be in entertainment but what’s preventing me from getting involved in an agriculture product?

“Because we are also in restaurants and food processing and it would be lovely if I can be able to get raw materials out of Guyana,” Chin highlighted too.

The MovieTowne complex itself is still in its infant stages, only opening its doors in early 2019. So Chin explained that these investments are being explored against the backdrop of the need to improve the existing MovietTowne complex.

Importantly, patrons can expect some international brands to occupy the mall soon enough. Later this week, Payless, the international discount footwear chain, will establish its first store in Guyana at the mall.

The promised improvements and new developments at the mall are important, since, as he highlighted, the two-year-old facility has been confronted by challenge after challenge, including Guyana’s protracted election period and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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