COVID-19’s consequential delay of the cruise industry’s return to business has put aspects of Nassau Cruise Port Limited’s (NCP) redevelopment of the Prince George Dock ahead of schedule, the company’s CEO Mike Maura told Guardian Business Monday.
Maura said NCP is preparing to demolish Festival Place at the beginning of September.
He said the absence of cruise vessels means the absence of foot traffic, and that will mean that the resurfacing of the dock will take much less time than was anticipated by the general contractors of the dock renovation project, Enka.
“Enka, the general contractor has arrived in Nassau, and so they are getting themselves situated,” Maura added.
“We anticipate them beginning some resurfacing works in October.
“From a sheer convenience standpoint, everything is a challenge (due to COVID-19), but at the same time the opportunities that have been presented are that we don’t have cruise ships, and more importantly, we don’t have cruise passengers.
“When we had planned on the resurfacing of the piers, as an example, there’s a tremendous amount of work and effort going into how to resurface all of the piers at Prince George Wharf, and do it safely, while there are thousands of passengers disembarking those ships. And so, what the absence of cruise vessels and their passengers provides is an opportunity to fast-track elements of the project that would have taken significantly a much longer amount of time to get the works completed.
“So, the resurfacing is going to be ahead of schedule and that’s an important element.”
NCP has already demolished the old customs warehouse and is now awaiting a permit from the Ministry of Works to demolish the iconic Festival Place building, which became the arrivals and departures terminal for the port in the early 2000s.
Maura said NCP expects to have the port department building demolished before the end of the year.
He added that the extension and refurbishment of birth 16 and extension of the most northeasterly pier are expected to begin about mid-October.
“The marine works are the first part of the project, and again this period of no ships and no passengers, we’re [going to] take advantage of it and get as much of the work done that would have kind of been competing with passenger traffic,” Maura said.
“[We’re going to] try and get as much as that work done sooner than previously anticipated and get past that.”
In May, NCP successfully raised more than $130 million over two weeks in a private bond offering through Colina Financial Advisors Ltd. (CFAL) in order to begin the first phases of work on the port redevelopment.