Reshaping the City of Nassau

The Central Bank is moving forward with its plan for a new headquarters in downtown Nassau. It proposes to construct a new facility at Royal Victoria Gardens on Shirley and Parliament Streets.

The government has tabled a resolution in the House of Assembly for the sale of the land to the bank for a nominal fee.

Bank Governor John Rolle told this newspaper last week the acquisition will allow the bank to “intensify the preparation” to move. They hope to break ground on the new building before the close of 2019.

In May, the Central Bank revealed the Sand Dollar design by Jason Lorandos of Architekton Design Studio Bahamas Limited was selected for its new headquarters.

The bank currently spends more than $1 million annually on upkeep of its almost 50-year-old building, and on rent for other offices to satisfy staff overflow. A new bank is needed.

The bank commissioned a series of designs that ranged from traditional to imaginative. It hopes its new home will be an inspiration to, and part of, a rejuvenated City of Nassau.

Lorandos said he took his inspiration from the sand dollar that is part of the bank’s logo.

Just down the street on Bay Street, The Pointe is emerging.

The Pointe is a $200 million hotel, condo, retail shopping area and entertainment project designed to draw cruise passengers from the ships. China Construction America (CCA) is its owner and developer.

Once completed The Pointe is expected to create 500 permanent jobs.

Bay Street needs a major capital injection such as The Pointe. More people living in and visiting downtown would spur further investment in order to create services for these consumers. Property values would increase, enticing owners of undeveloped land and derelict structures to either invest in them or to sell to others who could.

The government has also just accepted three bids for the redevelopment of Prince George Wharf. The wharf is the entrance to the cruise port.

According to Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, an evaluation committee, which will scrutinize the bids, has already been formed and will be headed by Director General of the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibrilu.

He added that when the committee has completed its work, it will make a recommendation to Cabinet, which will then make a decision.

Choosing the right group to lead the nine-figure project would transform downtown.

The City of Nassau is changing. It is a place of such potential. Those projects are in the works. The existing Graycliff redevelopment, The National Art Gallery and the FML corporate offices are too part of a revitalization trend.

Last year, 2.6 million cruise visitors came to the City of Nassau. The city has the potential to be the major driver of our tourism economy. Our task is to make it nicer, more attractive, and to encourage people to live there. A vibrant city would lure more people off the ships and encourage them to spend more in a place they enjoy navigating.

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