Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The $3.5-billion Baha Mar mega resort has bidded out more than $400-million worth of work to Bahamian contractors, according to Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of administration and external relations
Twenty-two months into the project, the developers have awarded $232 million in contracts to Bahamian companies, Sands told the media May 6.
In a nod to the level of Bahamian participation in the Chinese-backed project, another $140-million worth of contracts are currently under review and being negotiated with local companies, he added. A further $45 million have not been awarded to Bahamian contractors.
Once completed in December 2014, the resort will feature some of the world’s most famous luxury hotel brands, including Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, Mondrian, which is a Morgans Hotel Group property, and Grand Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, as well as the new Baha Mar Casino and Hotel, offering a total of more than 2,200 new rooms.
A total of 307 private freehold residences are available for sale and located within each of the hotels.
Baha Mar will also include a new 100,000 sq ft casino–the largest in the Caribbean–and one of the most advanced and versatile convention facilities in The Bahamas measuring 200,000 sq ft. The space can double as an entertainment and sports venue.
Other amenities include an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, 50,000 sq ft of retail and entertainment experiences combining chef-branded restaurants, nightclubs and varied entertainment offerings.
“In our first full year of operation, which is 2015, we will generate $1.1 billion in gross domestic product (GDP), about 12.5 per cent increase in the national GDP,” said Sands. “Over a 20-year span, the development is expected to contribute $25 billion to the economy.”
Baha Mar is expected to employ 8,000 directly and another 4,000 indirectly.
To date, Baha Mar has generated some 1,900 jobs for Bahamians, according to Sands.
Prior to breaking ground in 2011, developers had said they would require works permits for up to 8,000 foreigners, mostly Chinese workers, at the project’s peak. To finance construction, Baha Mar obtained a $2.5-billion concessionary loan from China Export and Import Bank (EXIM), in addition to a $150 million investment from China State Construction America Inc, the project’s general contractor.
At the press conference, Sands said the company has 1,700 work permits currently issued, trending much lower than the estimated 4,000 Baha Mar expected at this point in the project’s development.
“We’ve increased local employment and we’ve decreased dependency on our work permit situations,” Sands told the media. “We’re extremely proud of what Baha Mar is becoming and what it will be. We are going to be the best of the best … creating this one of a kind, iconic destination here in The Bahamas.”