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$300M expansion for Baha Mar

A heads of agreement was signed at the Churchill Building yesterday between the government of The Bahamas and the Baha Mar resort for a $300 million expansion of the resort. From left are Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar; Baha Mar President Graeme Davis; Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis; Baha Mar Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs Robert Sands; and Baha Mar in-house attorney Ryan Pinder. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

Baha Mar yesterday announced a $300 million resort expansion, which includes a water park, that is expected to create 500 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs.

“Today, we’re unveiling our next phase, which is a $300 million investment which brings our total investment now, for the project, up to $4.8 billion,” Baha Mar President Graeme Davis said during a heads of agreement signing with the government at the Churchill Building.

“Today marks a very proud moment for us with the partnership and support of the prime minister and his Cabinet to discuss the renovation, over $100 million renovation in upgrades to our Melia Beach Resort…

“In addition to that, we’ll have a brand new expansion of our offshore, 15-acre island where we’ll have a beach club restaurant as well as a spa facility and some new and unique experiences on our private island.

“In addition to that, and most importantly, is our $200 million brand new family and adult-orientated water experiences, which will take place where we had torn down the Crystal Palace hotel back in October of 2018.”

The development will feature state-of-the-art water slides, surfing experiences, multiple restaurants, beachfront cabanas, a secret garden and “a very unique gaming opportunity for adult guests”, according to Davis.

He said the water park will be opened to the public on “a limited basis”.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said there will be a public entry where the general public can enter the resort’s attractions.

“Phase two will also include the widening and lengthening of the existing pier in the front of the Baha Mar resort,” Minnis said.

“The existing pier that extends off the beach at the Baha Mar resort is being expanded to better allow for boats to more safely dock at the Baha Mar resort for day excursions and to provide enhanced amenities for guests.”

He added, “Two children’s activity centers are to be constructed within the premises of the Rosewood hotel and the Baha Mar resort’s existing footprint to provide ongoing children’s programming that will both educate and entertain children – ages three to 12 – with activities ranging from Bahamian history, conservation activities, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, theater, virtual reality gaming and storytelling.”

The development is expected to be completed “over the next 12 to 24 months”, according to the Baha Mar president.

The announcement comes two years after Baha Mar had its initial soft opening in April 2017.

The resort’s opening was initially delayed after its original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2015.

It was subsequently sold to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited (CTFE) in December 2016.

Yesterday, Minnis described the new development as “extremely timely in that we’ve just been struck by Hurricane Dorian where there are many individuals both in Abaco and Grand Bahama who would now be seeking jobs”.

“This phase two development will also mean more jobs and economic opportunities during the construction phase and long-term,” the prime minister said.

Davis also expressed excitement about the project’s job creation.

“At our new upgrades and expansion, over, certainly close to 500 jobs will be created and 1,000 indirect and induced,” he said.

“We’re very pleased with the new investment of $300 million into the Baha Mar experiences.”

Davis said a Bahamian firm has been hired to work on the pools and hardscape.

He said at least 80 percent of the hires for the development will be Bahamian.

“There are some detailed work and such that we are bringing in some outside contractors,” Davis said.

“But, it’s certainly significant on the local contractors.”

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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