By YOURI KEMP
THE world’s second largest crypto currency exchange has included a boutique hotel in plans for its $60m Bahamas headquarters so it can better host visiting clients and business partners.
Valdez Russell, vice president of communications for FTX Digital Markets, indicated that the company’s presence will attract a significant number of corporate travellers to The Bahamas who it wishes to become “immersed” in its planned West Bay Street campus.
Asked during a Town Planning meeting why the exchange wishes to develop a boutique hotel alongside its office complex, Mr Russell replied: “One of the things that we have begun to do here at FTX is host a number of our international partners and colleagues, who come to visit our campus and stay at our space.
“We’ve established incredible partnerships with existing hotels, and we believe that as we have more partners visit, announced and unannounced, a boutique, small hotel that has the charm and hospitality of The Bahamas, just in our own backyard, will be ideal to welcome and host our varied guests.
“We will continue to support partners who are nearby throughout the island and on other islands. But we would like the opportunity to be able to afford our guests, ones that come from near and far, an opportunity to be immersed on our campus. And we look forward to that experience being in our boutique space.”
FTX is developing its headquarters building on a 4.95-acre tract of land located at Bayside Executive Park. It intends to construct three separate buildings. These include a “seven-storey hotel with 38 rooms, retail, roof-top lounge spaces, staff day care, a gym and cafes”. Also in the mix is a “seven-storey office tower” featuring a cafe, lecture halls, meeting rooms, co-working and athletic spaces.
The final of the three FTX properties is a four-storey “commercial building” with cafes, retail lounge spaces, auditorium, conference and meeting spaces, and offices, classrooms and a library/computer rooms. The site will also have room for 1,010 vehicle parking spaces, in line with FTX’s plans to create 1,000 jobs.
The crypto currency exchange unveiled its headquarters plans just as the Prime Minister unveiled the Government’s plans to target the digital assets space as a potential growth driver for the Bahamian economy.
“The Bahamas has a unique opportunity to be a leader in the area of digital assets. To-date, the Government has been successful in attracting one of the major players in this area, FTX, the crypto currency exchange. They have already demonstrated a long-term commitment to The Bahamas by investing substantially in real estate,” Mr Davis said.
“We cannot allow this opportunity to grow this economy to slip by. In this respect, in the near future, the Government will be promulgating a policy on digital assets. This policy will establish a framework to guide regulations in the sector, and facilitate the granting of approvals and licences by the Central Bank, Securities Commission and Insurance Commission in a fair and transparent manner.”
FTX’s existing campus near Lyford Cay is expected to be phased out once the new and larger campus comes on stream. As other companies in the cryptocurrency space show interest in doing business in The Bahamas, they will be located at the exchange’s former premises.
The office space will be developed in the first phase, followed by the “assembly line” in the second and the hotel will be the final stage. Construction will be completed within a three-year period, meaning that by 2025 the Bayside Executive Park complex will be finished.
“The applicant is seeking planning approval to develop a 4.95 acre parcel of land on the southern side of West Bay Street, approximately 3,500 feet west of Blake Road,” the Department of Physical Planning said. “The applicant proposes to develop the site for FTX’s office headquarters, a boutique hotel and a building for various commercial uses.”
Mr Russell pledged that Bahamians will have a key role in FTX’s future plans. “We believe in the empowerment of Bahamians. It’s not just lip service. But we look forward to making future announcements that will highlight our commitment to Bahamian entrepreneurs and existing enterprises, so that they can elevate their businesses,” he said.
“In addition to that, as we continue to build our space once approved, we look forward to receiving ideas from Bahamian businesses who want to have access to our space, and who want to grow their enterprises as well. Those kinds of have thoughts are consistent with both myself and my colleagues, so that Bahamians own more and are a part of incredible opportunities.
“We look forward to making those opportunities publicly advised, so that everyone has access to be able to submit and be afforded the opportunity to own a piece of whatever it is that their hopes and dreams are for a better Bahamas. Bahamians will have the opportunity to be in our space in meaningful ways.”