Developer eyes $5m New Providence move



Tribune Business Reporters

A Bahamian developer yesterday disclosed it plans to invest up to $5m in developing a 2.3-acre project close to Lake Cunningham that will provide medical services to western New Providence residents.

Dr Theodore Turnquest, principal behind the Tabeet complex, which will be located off Baha Mar Boulevard at the first roundabout north of the JFK Drive exit, told Tribune Business the development will also feature town houses, condominiums and rental shop spaces.

"This is not going to be an expansion of my medical office," he explained. "It will be mixed use because that is all Town Planning gave me approval for. That Urban Easter feel is what we are going for, so there will be some offices downstairs and some residences up top, and then some residences at the back.” The original plan was to have an enclave where people are able to work, live, shop and enjoy themselves alongside the presence of healthcare facilities.

“We can’t go on the lakeside, but we have two acres. We weren’t going to do detached homes. We are going to do condo-like homes because we wanted to create that community feel. We want an environment where you can live, work and play in the same area, and the closest thing we have to it here is at Sandyport.”

Dr Turnquest said the idea is to be “more green than Sandyport” and keep a “minimal footprint” so that it can harness the natural beauty of the lake. The project's financial budget has yet to be fixed because the developers are still going through changes suggested to them by the Town Planning Committee and Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP).

“The requirements from DEPP is one thing because first they gave an approval, and then there were offsets from the lake and from boundaries, and there were some other requirements that they have us going through and we haven’t really priced it out yet. But initial estimates given to me by my business partners have the project pegged at between $3m and $5m,” said Dr Turnquest.

“We were going to initially do two buildings with the Urban Easter part and a set of condos in the back, and it was five buildings and I’m trying to get some of the other surrounding properties. We’re in negotiations with some of the property owners.

"We will probably build all of this out in stages, so originally it was five buildings, but there are offsets and we have to make more considerations for parking and there are a few more things we are trying to work through. The building cost is going to be contingent on what we’re allowed to put there because they had cut us back down and we only could do what they allow us to do with the height restrictions and some other stuff.”

Tabeet's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) states: "The owner proposes to undertake construction on two properties, respectively referred to as Property A and B. Property A will consist of one residential building, and commercial spaces which include one medical facility, one building for office spaces and one utility building, plus parking facilities with 66 stalls with an overall footprint of approximately 24,600 square feet.

"Property B will consist of commercial spaces that will include three retail shops and one restaurant, and parking facilities that will include 27 stalls with an overall footprint of approximately 11,400 square feet. Additionally, the owner intends to develop the disturbed area on site into an access road for both properties."

Turning to the project's economic impact, the EIA added: "This project aims to provide increased healthcare services to the local communities with introduction of a medical facility. This will allow for immediate care to patients nearby as the hospitals, both private (Doctors Hospital) and public hospital (Princess Margaret Hospital) are located approximately six miles away....

"The complete development of the Tabeet project will require significant capital investment. It is estimated that approximately $3m is to be invested in the project. The approximate number of workers scheduled to work during the construction and operational phase of the project is still being discussed.

"It is expected that approximately 50 percent of the project cost will go directly into the Bahamian economy in the form of purchasing of goods, services and labour. It is anticipated that 80 percent of the project workforce will be Bahamian... During the construction phase Bahamian contractors will be hired to develop the properties and, during the operational phase, Bahamians would be hired to work at the retail shops, medical facility, restaurant, and commercial office building."

Tabeet is trying to secure project financing from a commercial bank, and has been talking to several lenders over the last several years. “Everybody has been telling us to come back to them when we get a little closer, but funding is not contingent on government approval and we are leaving ourselves open for different things, but people just want a reasonable expectation that this could happen before there is a commitment,” said Dr Turnquest.

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