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New Central Bank to be built at Royal Victoria Gardens

The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) will move its new headquarters to Royal Victoria Gardens, a resolution tabled in the House of Assembly by government revealed.

The resolution explains that the treasurer of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas has agreed to sell to the CBOB for $10, 3.056 acres of land situated on the “southern side of Shirley Street, the northern side of East Hill Street, the eastern side of Parliament Street and on the western side of East Street in the city of Nassau.”

CBOB Governor John Rolle told Guardian Business yesterday that the acquisition of the property will allow the bank to “intensify the preparation” to move this country’s central bank from its current location to the Royal Victoria Gardens site.

Rolle said the CBOB hopes to break ground on the new building before the close of 2019.

Information from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s website explains that Royal Victoria Gardens, situated opposite the Nassau Public Library on Shirley Street, was part of the former Royal Victoria Hotel.

“Built by the Bahamas government in August 1861, it was the first luxury hotel in The Bahamas and became the center of business and social activities during the American Civil War, and bootlegging during the days of American Prohibition,” the site said.

“It was also home to many British and American airmen during World War II, and, reportedly, segments of the movie, ‘Gone With The Wind’, were filmed there.

“After it ceased operation in 1971, the hotel sat vacant for some time. Several years ago, the main building was destroyed by fire and was subsequently completely demolished. The portion of the hotel that was saved now serves as home to the Bahamas Ministry of Health. Most of the grounds are now a parking lot, but some of the gardens remain.”

In May The Bahamas got a look at the future landmark of the city of Nassau when the bank unveiled the winning design for its new building. The design was submitted by Jason Lorandos, of Architekton Design Studio Bahamas Limited.

The newly proposed CBOB building is nicknamed ‘The Sand Dollar’, as the sea creature was the inspiration behind the design of the building, which Lorandos said will incorporate innovative design and construction techniques.

CBOB now spends more than $1 million annually on the upkeep of its almost-50-year-old headquarters and on rent for other offices to satisfy the overflow of its staff.

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Chester Robards

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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