Award-winning yacht manufacturing company Xquisite Yachts officially sealed the deal with the purchase of the Running Mon Marina and Resort in Freeport last week, and the new owners are scheduled to begin the multi-million-dollar transformation immediately.
Xquisite Yachts manufactures their vessels around the world, including in Portugal and South Africa properties. The decision to acquire the facility in Grand Bahama, said Chief Executive Officer Tamas Hamor, was made to accommodate the company’s growing demand.
Hamor started Xquisite in 2014 with the vision of building luxury cruising catamarans and later the servicing of their uniquely built vessels, which led to the need for a base with proper service center, where owners can bring in their boats for commissioning, repair, upgrades, maintenance and have a gathering hub.
“The resort and marina will be the base for the company’s North American operations, where clients can come in and know that there is a professional crew to take care of their boats,” Hamor said.
“Acquiring Running Mon was perfect; match made in heaven.”
The reopening of the resort and marina, and the developers’ plans to renovate the property into an upscale entertainment, hotel, and catamaran center, is great news for Grand Bahama, said Ginger Moxey, minister with responsibility for the island.
“We welcome the faith you put in this resort,” said Moxey at the official announcement event held at the resort on Friday.
“We have been through a lot and the potential is so enormous. In the government’s ‘Blueprint for Change’, Grand Bahama is envisioned to become the home of maritime planning, events and entertainment, and innovation.”
Noting that the project will provide employment and training opportunities for Grand Bahamians, Moxey added, “I am excited about what is going to happen here, and I believe people will be as well.”
Xquisite’s Chief Financial Officer David Townsend said, a “comprehensive repair program and rejuvenation plan” has been laid out for the resort.
“We anticipate at the end of the project for us to build out, our investment will be $3 million to $5 million over a two- to three-year period,” Townsend said.
“We have already invested over $150,000 to date, working with local businesses.”
Townsend added that Running Mon’s original architect, Lawrence Chisholm and Associates, has been hired to prepare plans for phase one of the project.
Additionally, Yellowfin contracting will be the general contractor, overseeing the repairs and renovations of the hotel.
The first phase is expected to begin with repairs to the resort and upgrade of the marina, for a partial opening of the facility in November. The marina’s development will also include an after-sales service center for Xquisite’s high net worth clients.
Townsend added in the initial stages of construction and repairs, there will be job opportunities for Grand Bahamians, however, at completion it is anticipated that up to 40 full-time positions will be available at the new Xquisite facility.
Townsend said the company is also prepared to provide training for people interested in the maritime operations, including the mechanics, piloting (officers and crew), and technological aspects.
“So, we are looking at full operations by 2023, including charters for our boats in the spring, the hotel opening, charter provisioning, and opening of the restaurant and bar,” he said. “The open service center is set to be open by 2025.”
Xquisite’s purchase of the Running Mon property is one of several investments in the pipeline for Grand Bahama, said Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) President Ian Rolle.
Earlier this year, GBPA executives listed 20 new projects for Grand Bahama which had already been approved and in some cases started.
“This is one of the projects we spoke about which is part of our $1 billion worth of projects in store for the island,” Rolle said.
Xquisite’s purchase of the resort and marina will restore the facility’s reputation as one of the premier marinas in the country, said Derek Newbold, GBPA’s chief investment officer.
The resort, which has been struggling over the last six years, closed its doors indefinitely in 2019 because of challenges due to Hurricane Dorian. The COVID-19 pandemic soon followed.
“This resort has been a part of Grand Bahama’s landscape for decades and with the introduction of a service center for multi-million-dollar yachts that will attract elite clientele, we expect to have a spin-off impact for the island and the city,” Newbold said.
“But even more importantly is it will create entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians and also expose them to new skills and training in the maritime sector.
“It is our hope that Xquisite will eventually establish a manufacturing footprint in Freeport given the proximity to America, and they will operate from a special economic zone where they have access to certain trade advantages and benefits,” he added.