By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
EXUMA is positioning itself as a “high net worth destination”, the Prime Minister said yesterday, as the Government signed a Heads of Agreement for a $200 million boutique resort on Children’s Bay Cay and Williams Cay.
The project is being developed by Swiss businesswoman and billionaire, Dona Bertarelli, and is expected to create 250 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs for Bahamians.
Building work is set to begin in the third quarter this year, and the resort is scheduled to open in late 2019.
Mr Christie said the Government was committed to moving as “rapidly as possible” to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the development.
“We know that the infrastructural support must start with the airport in Exuma, and we are progressing with our plans for a new terminal building that that will be befitting of Exuma and the exposition taking place there,” said the Prime Minister.
“The Government is currently discussing with the owner of Sandals an expansion of Sandals into a Beaches, and most certainly that in itself would add another 200 rooms at the very least.
“We are in discussions with the February Point developers as they continue to expand. We have a new development we are addressing now for Stocking Island, which will result in another high net worth destination.
“It is clear that Exuma is placing itself on the map of the Bahamas as a hight net worth destination, and an island that attracta some of the most significant people in the world.”
Speaking to the Children’s Bay Cay and Williams Cay development, Mr Christie said: “Children’s Bay Cay will be developed into an exclusive five-star, ultra-luxurious resort and golf club, and will feature a boutique 50-pavilion room hotel; five over-the-water pavilions; five estate homes; a club house comprising a restaurant, boutique library, screening room, bar and lounges; a beach club; spa, gym and Pilates centre; a marina village with restaurants and small cinema complex; a nature and environment centre; a managed marine park; and a 20-slip marina that will accommodate vessels up to 120 feet.
“As a further demonstration of the developer’s respect for the environment, a nature park is planned for the uninhabitable Windsock Cay, which lies about a quarter of a mile off Children’s Bay Cay.”
Mr Christie added: “Williams Cay will be a private section of the resort, and will contain an ecological oriented 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio. The Cay will have 15-20 villas; 3 over-the-water pavilions; a welcome centre; a villa owner club house; nature trails; biking and jogging trails; and seaplane and helipad facilities.
“A bridge will link Children’s Bay Cay and Williams Cay. The architecture will take into consideration the topography and the natural environment, as well as a pavilion style resort which will be easier to blend into the natural environment of the Bahamas. “
Ms Bertarelli said yesterday: “I first came to the Bahamas almost 10 years ago, and it was love at first sight. Through the years I have cruised the Exumas, and each time I have been amazed by the rare beauty of ocean.
“I believe the Exumas will present the ultimate luxury vacation destination like a hidden treasure, waiting to be discovered. The guests we seek to attract can afford the finest and the best, but in so many ways the Exumas offer something money can’t buy; unspoiled beauty, tranquility, so close to home and trouble free.”