Contractors 'perplexed' over GB project silence


Tribune Business Reporter

THE Bahamian Contractors Association's (BCA) president yesterday said it was "perplexing" that the Government had failed to publicise 900 construction jobs being created by a Grand Bahama condo project.

Leonard Sands, pictured, told Tribune Business that the BCA reserved comment on the Grande Harbour project's viability and likely economic impact, but questioned why the Government has not mentioned its existence in the foreign direct investment (FDI) pipeline.

"I don't want to comment on the project itself, but I certainly find it perplexing that something so significant has been mentioned and the Government has not said anything about it," he said. "It would certainly be something significant for the Government to tout.

"Until we see the Government speaking about this, mum's the word. It is just perplexing that something that could be a potentially economy-changing event has not been brought to the fore."

John MacDonald, principal of Grande Harbour at Old Bahama Bay, recently told Tribune Business that he was aiming to negotiate a Heads of Agreement with the Government, and in the process of obtaining all necessary planning, environmental and other approvals for his 460-unit development.

He added that he was willing to work with Toronto-based Skyline Investments, purchaser of the former Ginn property, to redevelop Grand Bahama's West End through their separate projects targeted at high-end clientele.

Mr McDonald, owner of three existing condos at Old Bahama Bay, and president of the resort's operator, explained that his project is earmarked for an 18 acre land parcel acquired from West End Resort Holdings (WERL) Ltd.

Pledging that his efforts will soon "be full speed ahead", he added that Grand Harbour will feature 460 resort-style condos divided into one, two and three-bedroom units. It will also boast a 78-slip dockaminium, with a combination of fixed and floating docks to accommodate vessels up to 75 feet in length.

"There's going to be roughly 900 construction jobs and a little over 300 full-time employees," Mr MacDonald told Tribune Business. "Our first phase is going to expand the marina, build a new check-in facility and we immediately want to move on the amenities."

Grande Harbour's proposed amenities include two infinity pools; hot tubs; a spa; two restaurants; tennis courts; basketball courts; volleyball courts; the "largest fish cleaning station in all of the Bahamas"; a convention hall; gym facilities; and a private members-only club.

Mr Sands, meanwhile, said that as the Government progresses with its purchase of the Grand Lucayan, "positive things" will come for local contractors as a result of needed renovations to the property.

Tribune Business reported this week that the Government's $35m Grand Lucayan repair bill is "significantly less" than initially feared, with preliminary engineering estimates finding that roof repairs were the biggest issue for Freeport's sole mega resort property.