No NEW $9 Billion Dollar Development for Nassau; Price Tag & Scope Scaled Back
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, April 28, 2022 – What would have been the largest project of its kind in the Caribbean, the billion-dollar, 1000-acre mega hotel Coral Harbor project may be moving forward but only at a fraction of its initial size.
The smaller plan is estimated to cost no more than 300 million dollars but the original, designed by Winstanley Architects and planners for Bahamas Leisure & Resorts Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer Aboudi Debs, was slated to have, “Six hotels, class A and class B, office space, four marinas, two golf courses, over 3,500 condominiums, single-family lots and estates, as well as retail and rental apartments.”
“Unfortunately, the very same day Baha Mar went into chapter 11 my client made a proposal for a multibillion-dollar project in Coral Harbour. There was absolutely no taste for a large project of that size at that time and we all know the history of what took place at Baha Mar, and Christie will never get the credit for what he deserves with respect to resuscitating the Baha Mar project, but in terms of the project in Coral Harbour, there was just no appetite for it,” Grimes said
The Baha Mar project was another venture that would have been the largest in the Caribbean but was plagued by controversy. After consistent delays and deferred openings, the project finally filed for bankruptcy in 2015. The principal developers blamed the development company, a Chinese company, for consistently missing deadlines and delaying the opening so far back that it became impossible to recoup the money spent. It was resold in 2017 and opened on a smaller scale.
Since then the Coral Harbor Harbor project has taken on a more bite-sized approach.
Grimes said the developers had assessed and scaled down to something that could be built in the ‘foreseeable future. The approach seems to have yielded fruit as the principal developers met with the Bahamian government earlier this month.
Grimes told the Tribune, that the Coral Harbour Development is months away from making any formal submission to the government.
“What they presented to the Government of The Bahamas was their intent to introduce phase one, stage one, which is a much smaller, well-defined project.”
In terms of approvals, Grimes said they had not reached that stage.
“They’re in the very preliminary stages of finalizing plans so an application can be made as such in short order. It takes time to finalize plans, then you have to get approvals and then begin putting shovels in the ground.
They’d not be applying, more likely for another four-plus months.”
The attorney sought to refute any rumors that the development was breaking ground soon saying he and his clients had nothing to do with that release of information; calling it reckless and irresponsible for anyone to circulate that kind of information. He also cleared up rumors regarding a $9 billion transaction price tag on the resort saying it was “untrue.”
CAPTION (April 18, 2022) – NASSAU, The Bahamas — Coral Harbour Development executives recently paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis (third right) at the Office of the Prime Minister. Pictured l-r: Permanent Secretary Davis Davis; Voldemaras Kanchas, CHD Project Manager; Aboudi Debs, CHD Principal/President; Prime Minister Davis; Farid Abou Fadel, CHD Principal/Senior VP; and Attorney Valentine Grimes.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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