By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Eleuthera’s French Leave Resort and Marina plans to be “open and operational” by mid-December, its developers telling Tribune Business that more than $8 million has been invested in the project to-date.
Eddie Lauth, chief executive of Shaner Capital, the financing arm of French Leave operator/developer, the Shaner Corporation, yesterday said a “soft opening” was planned for the end of this month.
“We planned to have a soft opening just for a preview. We plan to do that on November 30,” Mr Lauth said. “By mid-December we plan to open up and be operational. We will open up with three to four model villas, two that are two bedrooms, two one bedroom.
“We will open up with the 1648 Bar & Grill. We will open up with the fitness centre, which will be available to the public by membership. We will have the gift shop and reception open. We will have improved a half a mile of road from the Harbour Village to French Leave beach for beach access for guests.
Mr Lauth added: “We broke ground about six weeks ago on the first two villas on French Leave beach as well.
“I hope people really like it because we really want to make French Leave Harbor Village something special, where Governor’s Harbour will no longer be the stepchild to Harbour Island.
“We want to set our own standard. French Leave is rally about the other Bahamas and the old Bahamas. We really think it is a special place, and we wanted the Harbour Village to be a really special place.”
Mr Lauth said French Leave was set to go live with its reservation system in the next two weeks. “We have joined forces with Damianos in Nassau, who is spearheading our marketing campaign for us,” he added.
“We are all set to go live in the next week or two with our reservation system. The staff has been trained, and we are proud to say we have only one person on staff who is non-Bahamian.”
Mr Lauth said 20 Bahamian jobs have been created, and the developers were anxious to continue building out the rest of the villas at French Leave and keep the momentum going.
“Being able to have the first four up on the harbour side is really great. We are hoping to put another six right on the harbour front,” he added.
“We are really anxious to kick off sales. We are also really pleased that we have had a lot of interest with Bahamians in Nassau who are looking for a weekend getaway.
“We always thought our primary market would be south Florida, but we are very surprised at how much interest we have gotten from people out of Nassau.”
Mr Lauth said the infrastructure for 30 villas has already been put in place. “All the roads are in now, the emergency back up generators, the maintenance, laundry, Lance [Shaner] put all that in,” he added.
“Our goal on the Shaner Bahamas side is to continue with an additional six of the villas right on the seafront for a total of 10 or so, and then on the ocean side we broke ground about two months ago on the first of the two on the ocean side. They will also be a part of the Shaner rental programme.”