The Jack's Bay Heads of Agreement signing took place Friday morning at Cabinet Office. Pictured are Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, centre, with Developers Franklyn Wilson, left, and O.A. T. 'Tommy' Turnquest. (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)
By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
THE government signed a heads of agreement with Eleuthera Properties on Friday for the development of the Jack's Bay Resort, Golf Course and Marina project in South Eleuthera worth some $400 million.
The project is being chaired by Sir Franklyn Wilson, of Jack's Bay Developers, and is set to employ hundreds of Bahamians. The property, sitting on about 1,200 acres on the beach, promises luxury lifestyle opportunities that are said to be unmatched anywhere in the region, with development currently underway on a 10-hole short course designed by Tiger Woods’ TGR Design.
The business model is that of a private members club and residential community. It is said that Eleuthera has not seen this level of development in 40 years.
At Friday’s signing, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis noted that the development was good news, especially for South Eleuthera.
“Jack’s Bay takes advantage of the stellar and spectacular beauty of Eleuthera, and will offer an iconic Bahamian experience, from everything from its architecture and design to culinary experiences,” Dr Minnis said.
“With the Jack’s Bay project, the Disney project, and other developments on the horizon, Eleuthera, including South Eleuthera, is about to go through an economic renaissance. For many decades South Eleuthera has struggled to find sustainable development projects. A new era is on the horizon for the people of Eleuthera, a dream long in the making, finally coming to fruition.”
Dr Minnis said this project, along with others, will help the country’s national economic recovery, post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, a resort in the Abacos came under heavy fire for bringing in 300 Mexicans for construction purposes. Dr Minnis was asked how many work permits will be issued for the Jack Bay’s project.
“We will always put Bahamians first and we will look to ensure that we have Bahamians qualified to do the job and once they are not then we will issue work permits because the project must come to completion,” the prime minister said.
Dr Minnis also said the project was a long time in the making and has employed more than 200 people before March.
“Our vision includes a diversity of tourism and sustainable development projects by Bahamians and international investors, with a variety of Bahamian experiences throughout the archipelago,” he continued. “This project has been a long time in the making and is a unique Bahamian experience, including Bahamian ownership and a team of mostly Bahamian managers.
“The investment to date is in excess of $100 million. Sustainable employment was in excess of 200 people prior to March 2020. One hundred employees were retained during the lockdown period and the number of employed will increase again when the project opens up to further construction.”
Phase one of the project, which is said to be substantially completed, includes among other amenities: a main entrance, roads, landscaping and infrastructure; 10 hole par 3 Tiger Woods Golf playground; playground clubhouse, restaurant and retail; club lodge (main clubhouse) and pool area; tennis courts and 18 club villas.
Dr Minnis said the completion of phase one has allowed the recent opening of the club and the presentation of the residential product to the marketplace.