By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A senior Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) executive yesterday said he would be “all for” development that would bring “jobs, life and the economic activity” to Bay Street, arguing that it was time to “step out of our self-imposed xenophobic space and get it done”.
DNP managing director Ed Fields, responding to a Tribune Business report that Chinese government interests have presented Prime Minister Perry Christie with a ‘Master Plan’ to redevelop Bay Street and surrounding areas, said: “If it brings jobs, life and economic activity to the City of Nassau, I am all for it.
“Each stakeholder may have a different point of view, but as far as I am concerned, whatever it takes to get this country new investment, let’s step out of our self-imposed xenophobic, confined space and get it done.”
Mr Fields added: “Obviously, for such a plan to be considered, the DNP would wish to be privy to the plan in order to ensure that it is consistent with other developments underway or planned on a smaller scale.
“It is easy to understand why people would be excited at the prospect of an overarching redevelopment plan for downtown, but in view of the myriad individual owners, the challenge will continue to be how to manage the city so that there is a consistency of theme/style of buildings, variety of retail/food and beverage, codes for traffic, people, parking, cleaning, etc.”
Mr Fields said that not having seen the proposed plan by the China State Construction and Engineering Company, it was impossible to comment on whether it is was suitable for downtown Nassau, how it relates to what is currently there or under development, as well as how it will be maintained and managed.
Tribune Business reported on Tuesday that China’s interest in downtown Nassau goes far beyond the potential British Colonial Hilton purchase.
Highly-placed sources confirmed to this newspaper that Chinese interests have developed their own EDAW-style comprehensive plan to revitalise the city of Nassau - involving their own real estate acquisitions and developments - and quietly presented this to the Government.
Tribune Business contacts close to the administration confirmed that talks between Chinese state-owned interests, likely China State Construction, and the Government have taken place, but the discussions are at an early stage and nothing has been agreed or decided.
Bay Street’s potential revival has been slow to build momentum despite more than a decade of efforts, and both the provision of extensive investment incentives and the removal of the shipping industry to Arawak Cay.