Construction upsurge in 2011, says Wrinkle
The construction sector of The Bahamas will see an upsurge in 2011, according to Bahamian Contractors Association(BCA)President Stephen Wrinkle, as new projects break ground, muti-year projects tarry on, and old projects deplete their budgets and cut their ribbons.
Wrinkle toldThe Nassau Guardianyesterday that all signs point to a recovery in the construction industry, though the industry’s stakeholders still await an uptick in the crucial area of new home construction.
“Housing is still down by one-third and it will take significant injection to the overall industry to get that going again,”he said.
But in 2011, the construction sector will focus on larger projects, such as the start of the$2.6 billion Baha Mar mega-resort, phase two of the$1.4 billion Albany project and completion of the new U.S. departures terminal at the Lynden Pindling International Airport(LPIA), which will be directly followed by the construction of a new arrivals terminal.
Baha Mar recently awarded contracts worth more than$55 million for the rerouting of Bay Street and the construction of a commercial village.
And the Nassau Airport Development Company recently took receipt of the$165 million it will use to
finance the upcoming second phase and pay off its first phase debts.
The government is also expected to spend tens of millions of dollars upgrading the infrastructure in the area of the Baha Mar complex.
Wrinkle said the Baha Mar, Albany and LPIA projects could alone directly correlate to a decline in employment numbers next year.
However, he contended that there are many other projects across The Bahamas that will also aid in decreasing unemployment levels.
Wrinkle suggested that if employment levels increase, banks will increase lending and the new home market could bounce back.
“Employment means mortgages and that opens up the housing market,”he said.
While Wrinkle could not reveal the specifics of some of the other projects being undertaken on the Family Islands, he suggested developments in South and Central Eleuthera could begin in 2011, and that the(Professional Golfers Association)village project on Cat Island is still ongoing despite its scale being downsized.
“The PGA project, though reduced, will be something moving ahead,”said Wrinkle.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works Colin Higgs also revealed that downtown paving could begin next year, which will include all of the side streets.
According to Higgs, the new$11.2 million straw market is also slated to be completed in the new year and the Festival Place at the cruise port is to be renovated.
He added that the government will also upgrade the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center to accommodate the new stadium, by adding new access roads and landscaping. Those upgrades are expected to cost as much as$50 million.
The widening and repaving of John F. Kennedy Drive is also slated to begin next year.
Though no information has been revealed on the tendering process for construction of the new$70 million Arawak Cay Container Port, government revealed recently that it is set to ramp up work on the island and commence construction of the accompanying Gladstone Road facility.
“I haven’t seen anything about the scope of the work at Arawak Cay,”said Wrinkle.”I think that needs to be explored a little bit to see what the tendering process will be for that.”