Downtown Nassau in ‘dire need’ of plan

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

DOWNTOWN Nassau remains in “dire need” of planning and development, a local architect said yesterday, describing the area as “horrible” and “embarrassing”.

Marcus Laing of TDG Architects Ltd, while speaking at press conference to unveil the 28th annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference to be held on January 17, said: “A lot of structures downtown need to be managed differently, but the Government can’t force it.”

He added that Bay Street property owners, and others nearby, have to get on the same page and invest in the downtown area. “Downtown is in dire need of planning and development,” Mr Laing said.

“The private owners can’t seem to to get on the same page. Downtown is the face of the country. Our downtown is horrible. There definitely needs to be a creation of something different, something that has life and amenities that locals and visitors can enjoy.”

John Cox, founder of Popop Studios and creative arts director at Baha Mar, agreed and said: “It’s difficult sustaining things down there. There needs to be incentives for people to invest. Property owners may need to consider collaborating with a body of individuals, creatives and entrepreneurs who want to do restaurants, coffee shops and bars to activate the spaces. Downtown is embarrassing. It connects Baha Mar and Atlantis, a bridge between the two, and you just want to speed through.”

Mr Cox added that there was a growing appreciation for Bahamian artists, creatives and their work. “I think it’s a great time to be an artist in the region, and especially in The Bahamas,” he said.

“I think the appreciation is growing; it’s not where it should be, but it’s much better than it was 20-30 years ago. I think it’s a direct testament to the work and exposure people have and the value they see in creatives.”