Construction begins on US$2.6 billion resort

NASSAU, Bahamas: Work on a multi-billion dollar resort has started after several financial and other challenges.

A ground breaking ceremony for the US$2.6 billion Baha Mar development was held on Monday. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette described the project as “a critically important part of the Bahamian tourism establishment”.

“As we are aware, this project has faced numerous challenges since the signing of the initial Heads of Agreement with the government in April 2005,” said Symonette.

“These challenges have included the withdrawal of the initial joint venture partners in the project, as well as the dramatic and prolonged downturn in the global economy, which has had a major impact on resort development in the Bahamas and other parts of the world.”

Symonette said that the details of the project have been painstakingly negotiated between the government and Baha Mar to ensure a well-received and successful development for the investors in and operators of the development.

“The government and its agencies will continue to work with Baha Mar to achieve the implementation of the agreements concluded and thus a successful development,” said Symonette.

The project is the brainchild of Sarkis Izmirlian, chairman and chief executive officer of Baha Mar Resorts Ltd., who has partnered with the China Export Import Bank and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation to build what is touted as the largest luxury resort in the region.

It has also been agreed that the value of construction works be awarded to Bahamian contractors and sub-contractors totaling $400 million.

The Baha Mar resort will comprise six hotels with approximately 3,500 rooms and condominiums, an approximately 100,000 square foot casino, 200,000 square feet of convention facilities, a 20-acre beach and pool experience, an 18-hole golf course and a 60,000 square-foot retail village and additional residential products.

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