The Sunseeker Resort project in Charlotte County is suspended indefinitely as Allegiant Air loses money amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The gates surrounding Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor are locked, and crews hired by Allegiant won’t resume construction until at least late 2021.
“We have said from the outset, the most important component of our model is the airline,” said John Redmon, president of Allegiant Air.
The airline is burning about $2 million a day as fewer people fly, so executives announced construction at the Sunseeker site is suspended, with no money going into the project for at least 18 months.
“Our number one priority is to ensure survival and long-term success,” said Greg Anderson, chief financial officer at Allegiant.
Dave Gammon, economic development director for Charlotte County, said the county would have “loved to see this open next year. We will just have to wait a little bit until they figure out their game plan.”
That plan may involve more investors.
Allegiant said it may consider a future partnership on the project, but the airline’s CEO said “future” is the keyword.
“You’re like 17 months ahead of us right now … that’s moons ahead of us,” said Maury Gallagher, chairman and CEO of Allegiant.
“If they did anything like that, you would still want to have Allegiant Airlines associated with it,” Gammon said.
He’s confident this is just a roadblock rather than a dead end and they expect the project to take off once again.
“The project is going to look like an unfinished project for a little bit but it will get done again.”
Crews will spend the next couple of weeks securing the site and taking down the cranes.
Charlotte County did not give Allegiant any tax breaks or incentives for Sunseeker. Allegiant said it has some costs to keep its investment secure during the next few months, but otherwise it has no debt on the project.