OBMI and its design arm UCO Studio have been creating unique concepts for projects across The Bahamas and the world, and are now taking on one of the country’s most anticipated redevelopments, the Grand Lucayan resort, the company’s principal Eric Ullmann told Guardian Business yesterday.
OBMI was chosen as the lead designer by project developers Electra America Hospitality Group, which was announced as the purchaser for the property last month.
Ullmann explained that his company hopes to bring a level of design to the Grand Lucayan that will completely reposition the hotel. He said OBMI is currently having conversations with brands interested in operating the hotel components of the property and is fleshing out the design concepts for each of them.
“Grand Lucayan has been dormant for years. Lighthouse Pointe is still running, maybe on one foot, but Breakers Cay and The Reef need to be totally gutted and repositioned,” said Ullmann.
“So, we’re bringing in the brands. We’re talking with the brands on how to position them. We’re looking at bringing in an upper-upscale premium product and then a luxury product, so spanning the depth of the chart.”
According to Ullmann, designs for the hotel could take nine months to a year. He contended that there is excitement about the Bahamas market from developers, and commented about the ease of travel to and from this country now that the government has done away with COVID-19 testing for vaccinated individuals and removed the Bahamas travel health visa.
“I think the government’s done a great job with the transition of dealing with COVID and incoming and outgoing flights,” Ullmann said.
“As a tourist coming in, the last thing you want to be met with is a ton of paperwork and testing and all these different layers. I think The Bahamas has done it quite well. It’s seamless going in and out even more so now.”
He contended that there is definite potential in Grand Bahama despite the degradation of its tourism product from its height a few years ago.
Ullmann said the restoration will take a partnership between the government and developers.
“I think there’s something there that you can build on. It’s about having collective synergy with the government, that they’re willing to take the risk and take the necessary steps to get the airlift in, to get the cruise lines in, and they’re going to have to front some of that until you get the momentum, right, and that kind of willingness is driving developers to come and look at the kinds of projects that we’re looking at.”
OBMI is involved with other high-net-worth projects across The Bahamas including Rose Island, Paradise Island and Abaco, and is involved in projects across the region, including Trinidad and Tobago.