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Cavalier Construction MD says downtown Nassau projects on schedule

Nassau is gradually getting a face lift, as major downtown projects near completion. The new $11.3-million straw market is well over half-way completed, while the Elizabeth on Bay restaurant and retail plaza is all but done. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two major projects in the heart of downtown Nassau on New Providence are on, or ahead of, schedule, according to the chief of a leading construction company involved in the developments.

“Both major projects that we are involved in downtown are progressing very well,” says Richard Wilson, managing director at Cavalier Construction, referring to the new straw market building on Bay Street and the Elizabeth on Bay leisure and retail plaza on the waterfront.

The $11.3-million straw market was commissioned by the government to replace the old market, which burned down in 2001. “The 20-month project is scheduled to be finished by September next year, but we are more than half-way finished now, so I should think it will be completed well ahead of that,” says Wilson.

The new 37,000 sq ft facility will house booths for the straw vendors to purvey traditional Bahamian arts and crafts, and combines traditional architectural features with modern construction techniques and energy saving provisions.

Work on the Elizabeth on Bay plaza, comprising retail and restaurant outlets and some office space, is basically finished, according to Wilson. “There is still some interior fit-out of the seafront restaurant, but the contract work is completed. In total the project marked a significant investment of around $11-$12 million,” adds the Cavalier chief, noting that the renovation of the marina was carried out separately by Bahamas Marine Construction Co Ltd.

The two new projects, when completed, will go a long way to helping to revamp the downtown Nassau area, which has lost some of its charm over recent years due to congestion, a tiring infrastructure, and noise and air pollution.

“You have to modernize the entire downtown district like what we are doing with the straw market,” says Wilson. “The whole area needs a major facelift. It is too ramshackle at the moment. I believe every forward-thinking Bahamian wants that to happen. If both the public and the private sector are behind [rejuvenation plans] then I think people will gain confidence in them.”

With Phase I of the redevelopment of Lynden Pindling International Airport due to be completed in March, the financing for Phase II is already secured and the Nassau Airport Development Co (NAD) has received funds of $165 million.

Speaking at the Bahamas Society of Engineers, Bahamas Electricity Corp (BEC) general manager Kevin Basden says he sees potential in renewable energy, and urges entrepreneurs, skilled professionals to grasp opportunities.

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