Revisions to $1.8 billion I-group project a 'win-win'

By NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Business Reporter nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net REVISIONS to the $1.8 billion Mayaguana-based I-Group project provide a "win-win" for all Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said yesterday, telling Tribune Business that work would start immediately on the redevelopment of that island's airport with and estimated cost of between $5-$7 million. Minister Vanderpool-Wallace said: "The work that starts immediately is the redevelopment of the new airport in Mayaguana because that has been creeping along and now they are going to instantly spend $5-$7 million getting that airport completely up and running because that is critical for any island to have." Minister Vanderpool-Wallace noted that 5,825 acres of land, which had initially been included in the scope of the development, is being returned to the government. "It's a much smaller scaled development," he said. "They are starting with 2,912 acres. The original proposal was a joint venture with the government for 9,999 acres. We are taking a lot of the land back and the land we are taking back is prime waterfront land, prime land in the interior and that allows some of the settlements to expand in the future and so it has become a great win-win for all." He added: "The developers had a signed deal from 2006. They invoked a clause in 2008 to say they had to slow down because of the global economic slow down. When they slowed the project down we thought that was an opportunity to appeal to them to try and scale it back in terms of scope. The island of Mayaguana is bigger than New Providence so we did not want to have so much of that alienated, so we thought we could appeal to their good corporate conscience. They agreed and have signed a reinstated and amended Heads of Agreement which gets back 5,825 acres." The investment by Boston based I Group will represent the single largest Bahamas real estate development to take place in the southern Bahamas. The first phase of the I-Group's Mayaguana development will see the construction of an airstrip to accommodate Dash 8 traffic, an airport terminal, a marina and construction of a 25-room boutique hotel. This phase of the development is anticipated to be an investment of between $24-$32 million. The next phase of the I-Group may see the construction of a $50-$75 million high end luxury resort in Mayaguana. The I-Group originally entered into the agreement with the Christie administration in 2006.


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