The multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project is one-third complete and officials say all of the buildings, which are coming out of the ground “very quickly,” are expected to be completed before the projected December 2014 opening date.
Yesterday, officials had a closed meeting with cabinet ministers and other government officials to update them on the Cable Beach project.
They also took officials on a tour so that the Christie administration could get a first-hand look at the company’s progress.
Shortly after the tour, Senior Vice President of External Affairs Robert Sands told reporters that officials have spent up to $550 million on the development so far.
The executive said $130 million was awarded to Bahamian companies.
“We advised the government today that Baha Mar has created 1,700 job opportunities for Bahamians and 1,000 expatriates – 800 of whom are Chinese who are working on site. The government did say that it would like for Baha Mar to find additional ways to improve the number of Bahamians working and we hear them loud and clear,” he said.
“Secondly, we are on target to complete this project for December 2014. We advised the government today that the super structure and the topping off of all of the roofs of all the buildings will be completed by December 2013 and March 2012. So the actual physical buildings themselves would be completed by the end of December 2013.”
By next month, Baha Mar officials intend to close Skyline Drive permanently as it continues construction on the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course.
Officials expect to host a number of public meetings to discuss the impending closure and speak to other developmental issues.
The company also expects to complete the demolition of the Nassau Beach Hotel and two of the Wyndham Nassau Beach Hotel’s towers by the end of this year.
In the meantime, Mr. Sands said Baha Mar is still negotiating for a partner for its 9,000 square foot casino.
“As we said to the prime minister, we hope to have an announcement for that hopefully by the end of summer,” he said.
Mr. Sands added that officials are pleased with the progress of the mega development.
“The super structure is coming out of the ground very quickly, extremely quickly,” he said.
Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters that he is pleased with what he has seen so far.
But, he added that he wants Baha Mar officials to maximise the full potential of Bahamians.
“This multi-billion dollar project requires a partnership between the developers and government,” Mr. Christie said.
“This development proposes to have the government to spend a lot of money – many, many millions of dollars. Marketing for example, is a huge sum of money to be spent and so therefore the first order of business is that we impress upon the developers for very close cooperation and collaboration and that’s important.”
He continued, “Secondly, we are concerned about how many Bahamians are employed and how many Bahamian contractors are employed. There has to be a full understanding that we met with them while in Opposition. Therefore, we are in a position, now to say as the governing party we would want to see a full implementation of all that we said should happen here.”