How the new waterfront could look, according to Global Ports Holding’s plans.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Minnis administration signed a Heads of Agreement yesterday for a $250m project with Global Ports Holding to redevelop and manage the Nassau Cruise Port.
The project will anchor the administration's efforts to revitalise downtown Nassau.
Through its 25-year management agreement, Global Ports Holding will spearhead the development of a new terminal, a waterfront park, a harbour village, a new inner harbour, an amphitheatre, a Junkanoo museum, shops, restaurants and an impact theatre. Construction is expected to be complete and the new facilities opened by 2022.
Under the deal, the number of berthing facilities for cruise ships will increase from six to eight, increasing the number of potential cruise passenger arrivals.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said 500 jobs are expected during the construction phase of the project, with the government agreeing to an 80 percent Bahamian workforce during that stage.
Mehmet Kutman, chairman of Global Investment Holdings, said the company will aim for 100 percent Bahamian employment once up and running.
GPH, with headquarters in the United Kingdom, is the largest cruise port operator in the world. Dr Minnis said the company plans to make the Bahamas its headquarters for North, Central and South America.
"The majority of the shares for the new port will be owned by Bahamians through the Bahamas Investment Fund and the YES Foundation," he said. "BIF will offer to Bahamians and Bahamian residents two classes of investor shares on a bottom-up basis with the objective to achieve participation by approximately 20,000 investors."
Class A investor shares, he said, will represent investment in equity, with a minimum investment of $1,000 expected while Class B shares will represent an investment in debt, with a minimum investment of $50,000.
The YES Foundation, the prime minister said, will be established to fund causes promoting youth, education and sports for Bahamian young people.
The agreement calls for the company to provide $3m initial funding to the YES Foundation four months after commencing operations; to allocate shares to the foundation that corresponds to two percent of the company's share capital; to provide the Small Business Development Centre with a one-time $1m grant to fund its operations and a $2m grant to fund micro loans issued by the SBDC no later than 12 months after completing construction; to provide $2m to the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation for its support of qualified local artisans and farmers no later than 12 months after completing construction; to provide the BIF with a grant of $10m for its funding of loans to qualifying Bahamians for their investment in the project before construction is complete; and to allocate $8m to a green management plan and a redevelopment initiative for downtown Nassau in conjunction with the Downtown Nassau Partnership no later than twelve months after construction is complete.
Current vendors and shop owners at Prince George Wharf will be guaranteed retail spaces under the redevelopment, the government has promised.
Global Ports Holding has forecasted that its project, combined with anticipated cruise industry expansions, will increase annual passenger volumes through Prince George Wharf by almost 28 percent over the upcoming decade, from 3.575m in 2019 to 4.938m by 2028.
The company has partnered with Nassau Container Port operator, Arawak Port Development Company, and Bahamian investment advisory firm, CFAL, in taking over management and operations control of Prince George Wharf.
The Heads of Agreement for the project has not yet been released. However, Dr Minnis emphasised that the Prince George Wharf will remain wholly owned by the government.
In a statement yesterday, former Transport Minister Glenys Hanna Martin called it a "glaring deficiency" that Dr Minnis did not disclose the terms of the HoA as it relates to the benefits GPH will receive by assuming operational control of the dock.