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Baha Mar completes govt approval process

Baha Mar is looking to finalize its financing agreement with the Chinese Export-Import Bank during the second week of January–with all the approval struggles of 2010 now behind the$2.6 billion project.

“Themoney will hopefully be in hand during the latter part of January 2011,”Baha Mar’s Vice-president of Government and External Affairs Robert Sands toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”A year from now we hope we envision the re-routing of West Bay Street complete, the Commercial Village complete and that super structure for the new Baha Mar hotels will begin to emerge out of the ground.

“We’ve completed all our work with the government of The Bahamas[and]once that has been done, you need to provide proof of that to the financier and finally, we’re looking forward to the finalization to the entire agreement.”

Sands said with environmental impact assessment approvals and Bahamas investment approvals now complete, the parties involved are now looking forward to the execution of”this very transforming project.”

After much anxiety and concern about whether it would actually come to fruition,Baha Mar just recently presented letters of intent to the contractors who will participate in the construction of the Commercial Village, part of the project’s$60 million first phase.

That followedBahamas Hot Mix and Bahamas Marine Construction coming together in a joint venture to execute road works worth over$40 million as a part of the first phase of the Baha Mar project. The companies made it to the final round of the bidding process and they were both selected to complete the West Bay Street/Corridor 7 roadworks, expected to generate 100 direct jobs and another 100 indirect jobs.

The roadworks are expected to begin in mid-January and the project is expected to take nine months to complete, President of Baha Mar Don Robinson said. According to Sands, the road construction will be on areas of land that are currently unutilized. He said that this first part of the construction project will utilize 100 percent Bahamian owned and managed

firms, and there was no stipulation that either materials or labor be sourced from China.

Baha Mar anticipates that the contracts will result in 300 direct jobs and another 150 indirect jobs. The local contractors said that just to be able to put bids together, they on average had to subcontract 10 to 14 parts of their projects to small local companies, each employing about three to four people. Some 4,000 Bahamians are anticipated to be employed over the construction period of Baha Mar, which is expected to be completed in 2014.

Baha Mar will add about 2200 new rooms to the tourism market in New Providence once completed. The company estimates it will employ a 98 percent Bahamian staff, or about 7000 Bahamians once the resort opens.

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