Sunday, Feb 17, 2019
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State of downtown area criticized

Marcus Laing.

Local architect Marcus Laing said yesterday that private ownership is “killing downtown” and suggested that the planning and development of the city of Nassau needs to be directed.

Laing, who was speaking during a press conference at The Counsellors Limited to officially announce this year’s Bahamas Business Outlook, expressed his ire with the state of the country’s capital city, saying: “Downtown is horrible. There definitely needs to be the creation of something different, something that has life, something that has amenities for people to be able to enjoy, locals and visitors, and it’s not happening yet,” he said.

It has been suggested that the development of The Pointe will be the start of the transformation of Nassau into a living city. But the plans to make Nassau a living city were developed 10 years ago and have yet to materialize.

Laing said other countries have made their downtown districts specialty areas, via legislation, to be maintained in a certain way. He said while in some of those countries government can seize buildings that are not kept up to designated standards, this does not happen in The Bahamas.

Artist John Cox, who will be a speaker at the Bahamas Business Outlook next Thursday, and who also spoke at the press conference, said it has become difficult to sustain businesses downtown. He was speaking from the creative industries aspect.

He suggested that property owners downtown collaborate with entrepreneurs to activate spaces that are needed to bring the city to life.

“It needs to be directed and there needs to be incentives,” he said.

Cox said downtown, which is the entryway to this country for millions of cruise passengers, is devoid of the kind of local experiences that tourists get from Baha Mar and Atlantis, and downtown “connects Baha Mar and Atlantis”.

He added that the initiative being developed by Graycliff, Hillside House and the D’Aguilar Art Foundation need to be spread into the heart of downtown.

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