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200 jobs through Ocean Club’s $400m expansion

THE OCEAN CLUB, Four Seasons Residences, Bahamas.

THE OCEAN CLUB, Four Seasons Residences, Bahamas.

• PI resort owner teams for 67 residences

• ‘Win-win’ solution eyed for beach access

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The Ocean Club’s upcoming $400m expansion will create 200 full-time jobs once the development is fully completed in 2027, the project’s partners have revealed.

Access Industries, the existing Ocean Club’s owner, confirmed it is partnering with Florida-based real estate developer, Two Roads Development, and the high-end Four Seasons resort brand, to construct 67 private residences that will be priced between $6.5m and $23m.

“We’re delighted to work with Four Seasons and Two Roads Development on the Ocean Club Private Residences,” said Jonah Sonnenborn, head of Access Real Estate, said in a statement. “As a long-term investor on Paradise Island, we continue to stimulate economic growth. This project will bring an additional $400m in economic activity to The Bahamas and is projected to create around 200 full-time jobs.”

Tribune Business understands that the The Ocean Club, Four Seasons Residences will be developed at a 6.1-acre site located between the RIU Paradise Island resort and Sunrise Beach Villas on Paradise Island’s northern coast.

The developer consortium is thought to be concluding the project’s final details, including obtaining all planning and environmental approvals and other necessary permits, with the Davis administration. Among the key issues being discussed by the two sides is the preservation of access to Cabbage Beach for Bahamian vendors and locals, and it is understood a solution may be close or have been agreed upon.

“The issue they had was how to leave it open to the public but keep the right to a five-star resort,” one source familiar with developments confirmed on condition of anonymity. “They’ve agreed the roadway will be open and remain in place. I think it will be a win-win for all sides.”

Chester Cooper, deputy prime minister and minister of tourism, investments and aviation, did not respond to Tribune Business calls and messages seeking comment on the status of the Ocean Club Residences negotiations - and, in particular, the preservation of beach access for Bahamians at Cabbage Beach’s western end by the RIU - before press time last night.

Beach access for Bahamians has long been a sensitive and emotive issue, with Cabbage Beach an especially sore point. The issue has erupted under both the last Christie administration and its Minnis successor, with protests in 2016 resulting in the tearing-down of a gate and fencing that blocked public access to Cabbage Beach over Access Industries’ property.

It reared up again in 2021 after Bahamian vendors, returning to work after COVID restrictions were eased, found the Paradise Island beach entrance locked and their items relocated across the street. This sparked immediate upset and protests, with some vendors forcing open the locked gates and placing their possessions back on the beach.

Access Industries, at the time, explained that it installed fencing and locked the gates as a measure to guard against “safety” concerns related to the construction of its residences project - although it has taken another two-plus years for the development to come close to reaching that stage.

However, the beach access by the RIU is not a public right of way or easement. For it is located on private land whose owners have allowed Bahamians to use it, a judge having branded it a “private access way” with the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the owners/developers and against the Cabbage Beach vendors every time the matter has been taken to court.

Ownership of the 6.1 acre development parcel, and the Cabbage Beach access point, was transferred by Atlantis and its owner, Brookfield Asset Management, to Access Industries when the latter acquired the Ocean Club from them in 2014.

Tribune Business understands development of The Ocean Club, Four Seasons Residences, which coincides with the existing resort’s 60th anniversary, comes in response to demand from clients for more residential-based options that cannot be met with its existing facilities. “The Ocean Club has such a big book of expanding business,” one contact said.

Realtors yesterday forecast that The Ocean Club, Four Seasons Residences will likely “set some records for price per square foot” in The Bahamas as well as help to further boost real estate values on Paradise Island.

Ryan Knowles, founder and chief executive of Maison Bahamas Real Estate, told Tribune Business: “We now have Four Seasons expanding the Ocean Club. It’s going to set some records for price per square foot. It will be in the 3,000 to 4,000 square foot range.

“The fact that development is going public is telling you they are seeing something out there that gives them confidence to go ahead with the project. I look at that as a great indicator for the year that that project is moving ahead, and the fact they’ve gone ahead and announced it is great news for everybody. For Paradise Island residents like myself it’s only going to help property values on the island.”

No construction start date has been formally announced, with this depending on how quickly all necessary agreements, approvals and permits are obtained from the Government. Nor were any figures provided for how many Bahamian contractors, as well as the likes of architects and engineers, will be involved along with how many construction jobs will be created. Design work appears to largely have been done offshore.

“We look forward to partnering with Four Seasons to celebrate this iconic destination and to set a new standard for luxury living in The Bahamas,” said Reid Boren, managing partner at Two Roads Development.

“With convenient access from major US and international gateways, The Ocean Club, Four Seasons Residences, Bahamas will allow owners and their guests to experience the very best service-rich luxury lifestyle paired with the amenities of The Bahamas’ most legendary resort right next door.”

Bart Carnahan, president of global business development, portfolio management and residential for Four Seasons, added of the Ocean Club: “Since 2017, Four Seasons has been proud to be part of the Paradise Island community and manage such a legendary property that is beloved by many.

“Our new private residences will be the perfect complement to The Ocean Club resort while offering a more permanent address to those looking to make this special destination their home with the service and lifestyle excellence that only Four Seasons can offer.”

Access Industries, founded in 1986 as a private investment company, is controlled by Ukrainian-born, US-British businessman Len Blavatnik, who was estimated by Forbes to have a net worth approaching $30bn in October 2023. Access itself values its investment portfolio, which includes Warner Music Group, and interests in sectors such as real estate and biotechnology, at $35bn.

The Ocean Club owner will be the project’s financing partner, with Two Roads serving as the development partner and Four Seasons ultimately managing the residences and associated amenities. Two Roads has already developed Four Seasons-branded residences in Las Vegas, and other high rise and condo projects in locations such as Miami, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Burnett Partners will lead sales efforts.

The developer group said in a statement that residences will range from 3,124 interior square-foot two-bedrooms and 4,073 square-foot three-bedroom homes to 5,028 square foot four-bedroom offerings.

Five-bedroom beach villas will offer 7,459 square feet of interior living space with 6,604 square feet of outdoor terraces, including a private pool. Penthouses will offer an average of 5,263 square feet of interior living space and 3,917 square feet of outdoor space, including a private pool.

Comments

TalRussell 3 months ago

Closing Arguments! ---Tread carefully because some judges ruled over ---- Who really Owns The Colony's Beaches' and Shorelines'? ---- One Law --- Permitting Beach Access for Some. --- Another Law --- Blocking Access -- All Others. --- Yes?

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Sickened 3 months ago

I don't see this ending well. Poorly educated and obnoxious hawkers/beggars in close contact with sophisticated/snobby foreigners. Yikes!

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rosiepi 3 months ago

It will interesting to see how they’re going to recreate this rendering at this location on Cabbage Beach given it’s history of shoreline erosion.

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