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2,500 jobs promised

The ITM Group is proposing a $130 million development in Grand Bahama that includes the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort complex, and the transformation of Grand Bahama’s cruise port into an adventure park, a project that would produce 2,500 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs, according to the group’s proposal.

Guardian Business got a look at a copy of the proposal, which outlines plans for Freeport Harbour to be turned into a lush lagoon park called Harbour Village, replete with a lagoon, food and beverage facilities, and “immersive experience facilities”, estimated to cost ITM $56 million.

ITM’s redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort complex into an area called Lucaya Islands, is estimated to cost $30 million, and includes a waterpark, convention facilities, and resort accommodations.

Last year, the government entered an agreement to purchase the Grand Lucayan from Hutchison Whampoa for $65 million.

According to the ITM proposal, the company will upgrade the port’s docking facilities at a cost of $35 million and provide multi-modal transportation between the proposed Harbour Village and Lucaya Islands at a cost of $9.8 million.

The redevelopment of the port, introduction of transportation, development of Harbour Village and Lucaya Islands, all total $130,800,000.

The proposal does not cost-out the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort in particular, but forecasts an extensive redevelopment of the entire property.

ITM’S objectives include: “Improve and increase the current port infrastructure; substantially increase the number of tourists; develop new and unique recreational experiences; redevelop and upgrade Port Lucaya property; integrate Freeport Harbour and Port Lucaya with multi-modal connectivity; promote the economy of Freeport through a comprehensive integrated tourism development; improve the quality of life for the Freeport population; generate new direct and indirect employment opportunities; showcase the cultural, gastronomic and artistic wealth of The Bahamas; feature the destination’s attributes in a sustainable and responsible manner; promote local entrepreneurship; and boost and support local business.”

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest would not comment on the proposal yesterday, but said only that “certainly the government has received a proposal and it’s being considered”.

ITM said it wants to develop Freeport into “the top cruise and land-based tourist destination in the Eastern Caribbean”.

Additionally, it states as its mission, “to develop and operate a multi-brand cruise harbor together with a world-class real estate development consisting of resorts, beach clubs, water and adventure parks restaurants and bars retail recreational experiences, entertainment and and world-class attractions”.

ITM’s proposal suggests two million cruise passengers per year could be gained by these attractions, and said passenger spend could be about $180 million per year.

The ITM group is a Mexico-based cruise port developer with several ports in Mexico and one in Roatan, Honduras.

The government suggested over the past few days that there are several groups looking at the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort complex but there had been no mention of a group looking at a combo deal to develop both the port and the Grand Lucayan at the same time.

Sources on the ground revealed that ITM could also be looking at how it can improve airlift to Grand Bahama if government accepts its proposal.

Grand Bahamians who got wind of ITM’s proposed development yesterday took to social media and praised the development.

One Facebook user posted: “Great! Let’s move forward quickly with this please.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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