By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
ALBANY aims to become the “Monte Carlo” of this region as it moves ahead with a multi-million dollar expansion in early 2014, Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday, adding that the development would bring an additional 1,000 jobs.
Speaking at the luncheon session of a Corporate Strategies for Leadership and Talent Development Forum, led by the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Mr Christie said the Heads of Agreement for the proposed expansion was currently being settled.
“Albany will move ahead early int he new year with the next state of expansion, and with ultra residential resorts, with the objective of becoming the Monte Carlo of this region,” the Prime Minister said.
“I am talking about one of the richest principalities you can imagine. Albany’s vision is to cause the Bahamas, New Providence, to be a shiny source of success in a country that will attract the richest and most powerful people of the world in sports and industry.”
Mr Christie added: “Tiger Wods is a partner, and some of the top golfers in the world are building there now. They are adding additional residences, additional business and financial complexes, a golf and tennis academy - which is a brilliant idea.
“Wealthy people who want their children to go to boarding school, they can learn tennis and golf right here in the Bahamas, with the highest standards and, ultimately attract a couple hundred students, who will come to Albany with their parents and it will be wonderful.
“In addition to that, they will have medical resort facilities, creating during construction and operational stages some 1,000 additional jobs. That is 2014, next year, and we are settling the Heads of Agreement now.”
The $1.3 billion Albany project’s overall scope has included between 450 and 600 residential and resort units, an 18-hole championship golf course and clubhouse, a world-class marina for mega yachts up to 240 feet, shops and cafes, a spa, a fitness center, equestrian centre, tennis courts, an expansive water recreational facility, a beachside social area and a dining club.
Last September, Albany announced its latest phase of construction, which was the development of its Marina Residences.
Christopher Anand, the south-west New Providence development’s managing partner, exclusively revealed to Tribune Business earlier this year that a successful sell-out of the Marina Residences could trigger further expansion at Albany.
Disclosing that the project’s investors were seeking to “create a Centre of Excellence” in everything it did, Mr Anand said then that other proposals, such as a tennis and golf academy, were already “more than plans”.
And, with Albany having just completed two new padel tennis courts to take its total to three, the project was also seeking to bring an international tournament in this sport to the Bahamas.
Mr Anand said: “There’d be some additional activity around the marina, and we’re looking at some innovative strategies, including having Albany not just as a place to own a home.
“It’s a place to conduct other activities. We’ve been exploring the concept of bringing in a recording studio, a business and financial centre, and a tennis and golf academy for training tomorrow’s professionals.
“These are real things that we are actively looking into. They’re a bit more than plans. If we talk about expanding and go one-and-a-half steps forward, those are the things that we are looking to develop here.”