Last week’s announcement of the new Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas multi-million-dollar development coming to Grand Bahama was met with excitement and impatience for its construction to get underway.
The project’s development and investment team – Weller Development Partners and Pegasus Capital Advisors – is proposing the construction of a resort village of 45 prefabricated waterfront and canal villas on a 36-acre site featuring 2,400 feet of beach in Discovery Bay, at the south entrance to Lucayan Waterway.
A cross-section of residents, including
tourism stakeholders, agreed that the proposed project would enhance the island’s tourism offerings and provide jobs; however, with the island’s economy suffering for so long, they are anxious to see the groundbreaking take place.
“This is another good piece of news for Grand Bahama,” said craft vendor Joan Farrington.
“But right now, I would want to see foundations and poles going in the ground. Just like Carnival that had their ceremony earlier this year and then work started, that’s what I want to see.”
The 38-year-old self-employed mother was referring to construction of Carnival Cruise Line’s new cruise port currently underway at Sharp Rock, East Grand Bahama.
“All the announcements and paper signing are good, but Freeport has been suffering a long time and we really, really need these types of investments,” Farrington said.
“Yes, this is great news. Added to Carnival and all the other things we hear going on and coming, I love it. But like I said, let’s get the cement poured, too.”
A formal launch of the project is expected in coming weeks, developers said in a press statement.
“The project is expected to transform the 36-acre site to showcase a Six Senses’ signature community, a blended vision of wellness, sustainability, crafted guest experiences and emotional hospitality,” said Six Senses Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Neil Jacobs.
The developers have set a 2026 completion date.
Rev. Frederick McAlpine, former member of Parliament for Pineridge, shared his enthusiasm for the coming development.
“I am excited about the announcement of the Six Senses coming to the island,” McAlpine said.
He added that the resort is needed at this time.
“I believe it will give Grand Bahama the economic boost it needs and that will start with the construction boom of the structures and then, of course, the employment after,” McAlpine said.
“It is also going to add to our touristic product in the future.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not just the plan of the Six Senses developers in terms of the hotel, but there is so much more that will come with this package.”
According to the Six Senses statement, other amenities include a marina, artist studios, fitness center, boathouse, beach venue and pool bar.
Noting that while Grand Bahamians may have become weary of announcements that sometimes do not amount to anything, McAlpine said this project is beyond the “promising” stage.
Referring to the developers’ financial position, McAlpine, who met with the group and viewed the project plans, added, “Funding is in place, and they are ready to go.
“And so, we look forward to at least something happening in Grand Bahama that can give revitalization and hope to this island. So, we thank this grouping for taking the chance and investing in Grand Bahama and we look forward to many things after.”
The development will receive an investment from the Global Fund for Coral Reefs to provide capital and technical assistance leading to increased resilience of reefs and the communities that depend on them, the company said.
Developers added that the project will create hundreds of jobs for Bahamians, both in the construction phases and when the resort opens.
“One priority is to recruit from the communities directly surrounding the project and the aim is to partner with Blue Action Lab to collaborate with the local community on job training and skills enhancement,” the developers said.
Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Director Rupert Hayward brought the development and investment team behind the project to the table.
This project fulfills the mandate of GBPA and supports a core objective of GBPA’s Revitalization and Expansion of the Economy of Freeport (REEF) report, commissioned in 2020, to expand the tourism product as well as the real estate and urban renewal sectors, the statement added.
Wellington Major, 65, a taxi driver, called on the government and GBPA to help the project get moving as soon as possible.
“This is news that all of us in Grand Bahama want to hear, new investors and investments coming to the island,” Major said.
“The only thing is, we want them to follow through with their plans. So, whatever agency needs to step in and assist them with getting all their documents in place … whether it is the government or the Port [Authority], let’s get it done.”
Grand Bahama Taxi Union President Harold Curry also expressed excitement over the new project’s announcement. “This is much needed for the island and taxi drivers cannot wait to see the benefits.”