How the new waterfront could look, according to plans submitted in the Global Ports Holding proposal.
By Natario McKenzie
Tribune Business Reporter
GLOBAL Ports Holding’s chief executive said yesterday the developer’s $250m ‘transformation’ of Nassau cruise port will generate billions of dollars for the local economy and thousands of jobs for Bahamians.
Speaking with Tribune Business on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of the port deal yesterday between Global Ports Holding and The Bahamas government, Emre Sayin said cruise passengers will be exposed to a much improved experience which will generate greater cruise passenger spend.
“We will be investing $250 million in the construction and renovation of the port but over the 25 years we operate the cruise port it is going to bring billions of dollars into the economy and create thousands of jobs," said Mr Sayin.
"What we also want to do together with the government and people of Nassau is make this the beginning of the transformation of the entire downtown district. We designed the port to integrate with the city. We talked to all stakeholders and will continent to do so as we approach the end of the design phase."
Global Ports Holding, the UK-listed, Turkish-headquartered operator of 16 cruise ports spread throughout the Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific and Atlantic regions, was unveiled in February as the preferred bidder to take over Prince George Wharf’s management and operations, and oversee its redevelopment.
“We expect to start operating the port very soon. I would start tomorrow if it was up to me," said Mr Sayin.
"We expect to finalise our designs hopefully before this year is over and then start construction. The construction could take two years. The operations will continue.
"I ask the people of Nassau for patience and support because it will be a difficult period for all of us but we will do everything in our power to ensure there is no hinderance of operations. Once we finish the project I think we will see something we are all proud of.".
Mr Sayin told Tribune Business that all retail and service providers within the port area will be given the opportunity to continue their operations.
“That’s a given," he said. "Moreover we will make sure that everyone who sell, serve and work in the port will be 100 per cent Bahamian-owned. When I talk about Bahamian-owned I also mean a no fence policy for the front part of the port that we develop - the waterfront- so that people come on cruise ships can easily go into the town and at night the people of Nassau can come to the waterfront.”
He added: “Nassau used to be one of the funkiest towns in this part of the world not so long ago and we want to contribute to Nassau’s revival and turn this port into a very charming attraction or the cruise industry, eventually increasing its importance for the cruise lines and cruise passengers.
"What happens in the port is only the tip of the iceberg. The cruise tourists that we bring, the satisfaction that will be provided will translate into direct and indirect economic benefit for the whole city and it may benefit other islands as well.”