An artist’s impression showing the resort pools in the proposed new Baha Mar development, Baha Mar Bay.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHA MAR is set to launch a $300m phase of development that will provide jobs for up to 500 people and involve a major water park and entertainment amenity known as Baha Mar Bay.
A Heads of Agreement between resort representatives and the government was signed at Cabinet Office yesterday. The move will bring Baha Mar’s total investment up to $4.8bn.
The investment will include significant renovations and enhancements to the Melia Nassau Beach Resort, the arrival of new luxury, beachfront adventure experiences for guests and developments to Long Cay, all of which is expected to be completed within the next 12 to 24 months, officials said.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Baha Mar Bay will be built on the site of the former Wyndham Hotel on approximately 15.3 acres of land between the SLS and Melia hotels.
“It will include a family friendly recreational area with water attractions for guests of all ages,” he said. “There will be a ‘public entry area where the general public can enter Baha Mar Bay to enjoy the attractions and activities. Phase two will also include the widening and lengthening of the existing pier in front of the Baha Mar resort.”
“The existing pier that extends off the beach at the Baha Mar resort is being expanded to better allow for boats to more safely dock at the Baha Mar resort for day excursions and to provide enhanced amenities for guests.
“The new Pier restaurant will provide a greater variety of beachfront and pool dining options for the guests at the resort and Baha Mar Bay, and will complement the existing food and beverage offerings at the resort. An upgrade and refurbishment programme will be launched for the Melia hotel which will include the upgrade to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure of the hotel and upgrades to specifically identified guest rooms.”
Dr Minnis said there will be upgrades to the kitchen, convention and meeting spaces, gym, restaurants and public areas. Children’s programming to educate and entertain children between three and 12 with “activities ranging from Bahamian history, conservation activities, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, theatre, virtual reality gaming and storytelling” will be featured at two activity centres to be constructed, he said.
Long Cay, a private island owned by the project company, will be developed to include enhancements to the “beach areas, design and construction of an extended pier for the safe landing of guests, design and construction of new food and beverage facilities, design and construction of a beach club and construction of facilities necessary to offer recreational and water sports activities,” Dr Minnis said.
Baha Mar currently employs 5,000 people. Resort President Graeme Davis said the new phase will result in 500 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs. He said officials have hired a local firm to do work, with 80 percent or more of people already engaged being locals. It’s not clear whether the supplemental Heads of Agreement stipulates specific requirements regarding locals in the workforce.
“As we phase the opening, jobs are starting today,” he said, noting officials are starting to hire lifeguards and food servers, which is expected to continue.