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Ex-Trust chief’s parking fears on Goodman’s Bay penthouse

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Eric Carey

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

An ex-Bahamas National Trust (BNT) chief yesterday argued the developer of a 14-storey Goodman’s Bay penthouse must ensure there is sufficient parking to prevent Bahamians being “further disenfranchised”.

Eric Carey, the Trust’s former executive director, told Tribune Business his concerns over the Wynn Group’s ‘Penthouses at GoldWynn’ project were “social” rather than environment-related given that he has already complained to the authorities about staff from the developer’s existing resort taking over Goodman’s Bay with their parked vehicles.

Given the issues created by the ‘Residences at GoldWynn’, which opened earlier this year, he called on the planning authorities to ensure the proposed penthouse has sufficient off-road parking to prevent it adding to existing problems in the area. It has previously been advertised as having 49 parking spaces.

Speaking ahead of last night’s Town Planning Committee hearing on Wynn’s application for site plan approval, Mr Carey told this newspaper of the first resort: “My view, and I’ve seen that development as it was being constructed and after it was completed, is it doesn’t have enough parking.

“My view is that GoldWynn should not be utilising public parking at Goodman’s Bay or anywhere else for their staff. When you’ve done one building with inadequate parking, and you’re creating another building on an even smaller piece of property....

“I haven’t seen their drawings. Maybe they have a parking garage on the first two or three floors, I don’t know. If not; if they haven’t built a parking facility on two floors, it’s going to exacerbate the parking problems that already exist,” Mr Carey continued.

“I use the Goodman’s Bay park. I go there in the morning, and the park is full because the staff from GoldWynn are using it. I complained to the Public Parks and Beaches Authority, and they said they were going to work on a solution, but I’m not sure if they have. 

“My concerns are not environmental; they are social. I’m just saying they have to build into their design adequate parking so the public is not further disadvantaged or disenfranchised by what they are building.”

Mr Carey, in an earlier social media posting which he confirmed was genuine, suggested that Wynn should use the property for parking rather than construct its planned penthouse complex. He added that this “helps the developer and the Government solve a vexing problem” of inadequate parking.

Describing the existing issues as an “egregious planning approval error”, he added: “Their staff grossly encroach on public parking at the people’s Goodman’s Bay parking lot and at the Office of the Prime Minister’s parking lot.”

Other social media postings signalled growing concerns and opposition to Wynn’s plans ahead of last night’s Town Planning public consultation. One asked: “Trying to become Little Miami?” Another described the proposal as “ridiculously large”, while others said it was a sign of “over development of New Providence”. “They are destroying the beauty of The Bahamas with all these over-sized buildings,” one added.

Wynn has been forced to restart its bid for planning permission after agreeing that the initial approvals granted to the project should be “quashed”. It is now urging the Town Planning Committee to abide by an Appeals Board order requiring the former to hear its site plan approval application “as expeditiously as possible” in return for not opposing the overturn of its initial permits.

The developer had to wait more than a year for the appeal hearing outcome, which has likely cost the multi-million dollar development both time and money, and its attorneys had urged the Committee to “schedule a public hearing as soon as possible” and ensure it complies with the process laid out in the Planning and Subdivision Act and its accompanying rules and regulations.

Well-placed Tribune Business sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Wynn had “consented” to the quashing of its earlier approval - provided its site plan application was quickly heard again - on the basis that the legal requirements for public consultation may not have been properly complied with by the planning authorities.

The initial “preliminary support of application approval”, which had been granted to Wynn for the second phase of its Goodman’s Bay development on July 12, 2022, was appealed by Eric Hoffer, who is understood to be the penthouse complex’s immediate neighbour to the east. The Hoffers have since been running a campaign, via newspaper ads and other means, to galvanise opposition to the project.

Tribune Business records indicate the penthouse project has expanded in both size and number of units. Marketing materials released back in March 2023 said it would be 12 storeys high, and feature 35 units, but Town Planning Committee materials suggest it has increased to 14 storeys and 40 units. Sales prices in March ranged from $2.6m for a two-bedroom unit to $7.25m for a five-bedroom.

Randy Hart, the Wynn Group’s vice-president, in March said the project would be an “elegant addition” to the West Bay Street skyline, predicted that construction would start by summer 2023 and suggested the project’s height was unlikely to run into significant opposition. That start date, though, has already been missed.

“From my window on Cable Beach from the GoldWynn I see multiple buildings, including Aqualina and other ones that are the exact same heights,” Mr Hart said then. “This strip of beachfront here was re-zoned for commercial development and, to my knowledge, we’re not the only ones who are moving forward with development plans to put 12-storey buildings on the shoreline here.....

“This will be a very elegant addition to the shoreline and, also in terms of density, it would be lower than some of the other buildings on Cable Beach with only 35 units. The building has already gone through the Town Planning Committee and other governmental agencies, and has received the approval of the authorities.” Mr Hart, though, did not mention the existence of Mr Hoffer’s appeal, which had already been filed at that time.

Comments

AnObserver 9 months ago

Damn skippy. Not that I think anyone in a position of authority is going to do anything about it. Just look at The Cable Beach Post Office, also known as Sandals Staff Parking.

mandela 9 months ago

In the name of so called jobs and progress our spineless leaders will do nothing.

Dawes 9 months ago

40 units and 49 spots, thats only 1.23 per unit. This doesn't even include the spots needed for staff. I would suggest if Bahamians find no parking in Goodmans car park they park outside of Wynn making their entrance an eyesore. How Town Planning could OK the initial building and then this with no parking is beyond me.

AnObserver 9 months ago

That sounds like a beautiful plan. Pull up on the sidewalk, park on the median, block their gates, as they do to our park.

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