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Sarkis Unveils His ‘Preserve’

Baha Mar visionary in real estate comeback

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Sarkis Izmirlian

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Sarkis Izmirlian is targeting a “substantial” jobs and GDP impact with a 333-acre mixed-use development at Clifton Bay that is focused on “sustainability” and environmental preservation.

Tribune Business can reveal that Baha Mar’s original developer is back in Bahamian real estate development via a proposed project called The Preserve, located in southwestern New Providence near Jaws Beach.

Mr Izmirlian has teamed with Tom Dunlap, his former Baha Mar president, to produce a “very low density” development on land he is understood to have acquired last year. While similar in size to the nearby 363-acre South Ocean resort, this newspaper was informed that the duo are aiming for a “live, work, play” concept that embraces traditional Bahamian living.

A spokesman for The Preserve told Tribune Business yesterday that the project will be developed over a 15-year build-out, with the pace dictated by demand for its office, retail and residential offerings.

While unable to give precise figures on The Preserve’s total investment, economic and job creation impact as Mr Izmirlian and his team are still “running the numbers”, the spokesman said the benefits for The Bahamas would be “substantial”.

The Preserve is now awaiting the necessary regulatory approvals and permits from the government to proceed, with the go-ahead set to mark Mr Izmirlian’s comeback in the eyes of many Bahamians from the trials he endured over his multi-billion dollar vision for Cable Beach’s redevelopment.

The Preserve is Mr Izmirlian’s first Bahamas-based project since his controversial ousting from the Baha Mar project by his erstwhile Chinese government partners, aided and abetted by the former Christie administration.

The spokesman for The Preserve told Tribune Business of his new venture: “The sustainability of it is going to be paramount. It will have a real minimal impact on the environment. It will be very low density, and very focused on nature trails, hiking and walking paths. They will only be moving trees if they have to.

“There’s going to be a live, work, play element. There’s going to be a corporate side with a living side and boutique hotel side over a 15-year build-out. The first phase will be the village, which will have a little bit of retail, a little bit of commercial, and a little bit of residential.

“The idea is for it to be replicating buildings in the old Bahamian communities with lots of porches, verandahs. They want to bring that sense of community back, where you can walk to your neighbour’s, walk to the coffee shop.”

The spokesman added that Mr Izmirlian and Mr Dunlap were designing The Preserve so that it catered to the needs of all residents and unit owners, effectively providing an all-encompassing concierge-type service.

“We want to make it easy for people to put condos in a pool so they can be managed,” they said. “If you’re a small business owner, graphic designer and want an office component to your home, these things can be looked at.

“The idea is to try and make sure this is something accessible - whether it’s a business professional who wants to live there and make an investment, foreign residents coming to live here for six months of the year or a second home.”

Emphasising that The Preserve’s residential units will be targeted at a mix of Bahamian and foreign buyers, the spokesman said price points were still being finalised. “The economic models are still being run,” they added, “but the investment and employment - both full-time and construction - will be substantial.”

Recycling and renewable energy will also be key components of The Preserve’s development. The project will not be located right on southwestern New Providence’s waterfront, but will instead have waterfront views out across Clifton Bay thanks to the site’s 60-foot elevation.

One realtor, speaking to Tribune Business on condition of anonymity, said Messrs Izmirlian and Dunlap were “bound to have figured out” the market they are going after given their extensive track records in large-scale real estate development.

The “live, work, play” concept is nothing new for either New Providence or The Bahamas. David Kosoy’s Sterling Global Financial is eyeing a similar concept with its Hurricane Hole redevelopment on Paradise Island, and elements of The Preserve will face competition from similar commercial office and other developments that continue to spring up in western New Providence.

However, demand to live and work in New Providence remains strong and shows no sign of decreasing, with many companies seeking to move out of Nassau and escape the overcrowding, congestion and high crime levels afflicting the Bahamian capital.

Many observers will also likely see Mr Izmirlian’s re-emergence as a major player in Bahamian real estate development as a sign of the Lyford Cay resident’s commitment to The Bahamas despite all the blows he has suffered in recent years.

Mr Izmirlian’s sights are also extending beyond The Bahamas, with media reports earlier this year disclosing that he had invested $26.4m to purchase real estate in Miami’s up-and-coming Wynwood area for a mixed use project there.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Bahamians are going to end up living on top of the public dump in the middle of New Providence. NP is already a small and very densely populated island. It's therefore shockingly disappointing that successive governments have allowed and continue to allow large tracts of land to be aquired and developed for use by the very wealthy. Soon most Bahamians will find they are confined to the ghetto areas within their own country thanks to the corrupt politicians they have elected over the past 40 years or so. It's truly ironic to hear so many non-white Bahamians often talking about how much more of their country was accessible to them before majority rule.

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

No surprise being comrade Sarkis's has become more KYG (know your government) comfortable, yes, no........thinks comrade minister Dionisio James might not be tempted pull a PLP Leo Ryan Pinder switcharoo rejoin he former boss man's employ, yes, no........

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jus2cents 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Awesome! because of Sarkis vision to build Baha Mar we now enjoy a great upswing in our economy. This kind of long term development is also needed for the 4000+ kids that leave school each year. Developments for ultra-high-end-clientele are much better for the country's economy than cruise ships or hotels, they'll spend 'year round' not just a night or two in a hotel or few hours off a ship! So the ripple effect will mean the quality of life will improve for all of us! BONUS!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 2 weeks ago

And all we Bahamians had to do to achieve this great prosperity driven by Baha Mar is agree to live without electricity for our homes and businesses. A small price to pay! LMAO

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BahamaPundit 9 months, 2 weeks ago

While FDI and development is generally a good thing for countries, New Providence is becoming over developed to the detriment of local Bahamians. New Providence is fast becoming Harbor Island, and it will be hard to find a home priced under 500K. It is clear that the entire Western half of the island will soon become one big gentrified gated community, off limits to average Bahamians. More than ever before, it is feeling like Bahamians are losing their country to global elites. Will this development interfere with the Clifton Heritage Park? Please let us know its exact location. I would have much preferred to see this development in Grand Bahama, where there is more land space and economic need for a project of this type.

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bahamianson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

333 acres ? How did he acquire all of that without a stink in the paper? the Lord proprietors in the 1600's or 1700's were granted tracts of land this big for their loyalty to the crown. How did he get all that land is the question reporters have to investigate and ask! Gentrification without displacement should be his plan, not gentrification with displacement of the original people living in this area. If people have to move because their land has gone up in value; and now they have to pay Real Property Tax, which they now can't afford, this is a problem!!!!!!! The Government Of The Bahamas, be advised, don't tax any family because this development caused the land value to sky rocket !!!!!!! It will be inhumane of you to do so, and I think you are heartless and will.

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enough 9 months, 2 weeks ago

It truly is sad how we are literally giving away our land to rich foreigners. The question is what do we do? Does anyone care? Let's be honest you really think there is a trickle down effect from these rich gated communities? It truly is the worse form of gentrification at the expense of the average Bahamian who pays the same amount of taxes as the super rich thanks to our inequitable tax system.

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OldFort2012 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Giving away? Are you implying that money was not paid? And that the sellers were not willing and were somehow coerced into selling?

This "foreigner" crap really has to stop. Bahamians are only too happy to go to Miami and buy property there but when someone else comes here and legally buys something, it is "giving away the country". What a sad bunch of xenophobic rock dwellers.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You're the arse. The rest of us know just how scarce land is on New Providence today. And we know that our corrupt government is literally giving it away to foreign developers after you take account of all the overly generous concessions they receive for paying a few million dollars to 'the right people'.

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Only two comrades missing out this new picture Sarkis's out sight, out reach populaces land assembly radar 333-acre land grab are faces Land Baron Harry Oakes and the Bay Street Boys ordained in-house realtor Sir Harold Christie, yes, no............ here it is year 2019, yet there's no need be making these characterisations up....... how hell was Sarkis left alone pull his land assembly off................ or who/whom all assisted the evicted off Cable Beach properties......Populaces demands names, full names - including notarised copies they birth certificates.........yes no...............

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JackArawak 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Buy a large tract of land in Andros now, your kids and grandkids will thank you later.

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade JackArawak, oddly, still standing since 1969 with only shantytown likes Fish Fry and a UBP stronghold Port sitting on mostly neglected Colony of Out Islands man-made 100 acre Kelly Island, renamed, Arawak Cay. is perfect example consecutive governments inability get job done, yes, no......... there's no making it up how Kelly Island has seen likes, Sir Stafford, Pop Symonette, Pindling, Papa Hubert, Christie, and now placed under mismanagement the likes Minnis, KP and Carl Wilshire, yes, no............. Now, it's Imperial red shirts cabinet's turn mess around contracting out Populaces owned neighbouring Jericho beach..........

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TheMadHatter 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Good work Sarkis !!! Dont deal with no bald heads this time and keep ya Vaseline handy Good luck.

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