$250m Six Senses project eyes summer building start


Tribune Business Editor


The developer behind Grand Bahama’s $260m Six Senses resort project yesterday voiced optimism that construction will start this summer depending on when it receives its final approvals.

Marc Weller, Weller Development’s principal, told Tribune Business that obtaining the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) will “green light” the rest of the plans for a project that has the potential to “rebrand and relaunch” Grand Bahama as a high-end tourism destination.

Speaking ahead of the public consultation meeting on the Six Senses Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which was pushed back from September 7 last year and will now take place on January 30, he added that the combination of Grand Bahama’s people, beaches and natural landscape “adds up to an opportunity that’s unique to any other place in The Bahamas”.

“We’re totally ready to go,” Mr Weller told this newspaper. “We’re excited to present our plans to the community on the 30th and gain feedback on them.” He added that the wait for the EIA hearing, and CEC approval, “didn’t slow us up at all. There a lot of work we have to do in the interim behind the scenes. Our planning continued”.

The Weller Development principal said gaining the necessary environmental approvals “will green light the rest of the plans, and we will be able to fast track them and start [construction] at some point in the summer. It could be late summer, it could be earlier. It depends”.

Mr Weller also pledged that the developer is “doing everything we can” to ensure the majority of construction work goes to Bahamian contractors and workers. “We’re finalising those numbers now,” he told Tribune Business of construction employment.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure a majority of construction work goes to Bahamian contractors and, therefore, Bahamian workers. We’re currently working with several Bahamian companies and we believe they will help to provide the workers and resources to complete this with that being in mind.”

Talking up Grand Bahama’s natural attributes, and explaining what drew him to the island, Mr Weller said: “Who’s got it better than us? That’s all I’m thinking about. When you stand on the beach in Grand Bahama and look at the water, you can’t help but ask yourself: Who’s got it better than you?

“I don’t make that as a cocky statement, but as a grateful and appreciative statement. We are so grateful for the opportunity.... I think this is an opportunity for a rebrand and relaunch in Grand Bahama. It’s something we think about every day as we move forward in the project.

“When you take a look at the beaches, when you take a look at the proximity to the US, take a look at the hospitality mindset among the people that live here, it adds up to an opportunity that’s unique to any other place in The Bahamas. It could be one of the greatest luxury destinations in The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” Mr Weller continued.

“One of the keys to all of this is just giving yourself an opportunity to explore the island, seeing its natural beauty and meeting the people. That combination with the spirit of the people of Grand Bahama and its natural beauty lends itself to a unique opportunity that is one of a kind.”

Weller Development announced last week that sales of the Six Senses residences are set to begin in the 2024 first quarter. The property’s 50-acre site will feature 64 resort villas and 28 branded residences. “We just started marketing, and have announced the marketing partnership with H G Christie and BeSpoke Real Estate, which we think is really formidable and an incredible pairing of professionals,” Mr Weller said/;

H G Christie will handle the sale of the branded residences while BeSpoke, which specialises in marketing and promoting high-end properties in areas such as New York and the Hamptons, will also be involved in broking these deals.

Mr Weller said he anticipates “a lot of inquiries” once the marketing effort begins in earnest in the next 30-60 days, “and from there there will be a significant amount of interest” that will only increase and accelerate as physical construction begins and “the realities of the project come together”.

“There’s a lot of interest in the brand and a lot of interest in The Bahamas, and we think those two factors together create unique interest,” he told Tribune Business. “There’s a great and unique interest in The Bahamas that appears to be growing, and we think we are very uniquely positioned to satisfy a lot of the demand.”

The project will also feature a wellness centre and Six Senses Spa, multiple restaurants, event space, beach club and oceanfront pool. “We are excited to partner with H G Christie to bring this unique purchasing opportunity to buyers globally,” said Mr Weller, founder and president of Weller Development Partners, in a statement.

“We selected H G Christie because they are at the pinnacle of the industry, and they share our entrepreneurial spirit and passion for going above and beyond to deliver unmatched luxury experiences. With this A-team in place, we are well positioned to do what we are known for – creating incredible experiences for residents, guests and the community, while ultimately changing the trajectory of Grand Bahama for years to come.”

John Christie, president and managing broker of HG Christie, added: “We have been fortunate to partner with a number of developers on exciting projects, but this one is really unique. Weller is a trailblazing developer with a track record of delivering beautiful, transformative places.

“With Six Senses Residences Grand Bahama, we have a rare opportunity to be part of a transformative project that will play an instrumental role in the rebirth of the island. This project will drive tremendous job creation, tourism and economic growth on the island, while attracting individuals who appreciate the unique brand experience that Six Senses brings to every property.”

Cody Vachinsky, founding partner and president of Bespoke Real Estate, added: “Our clients are looking for purchasing opportunities for their second or third homes, and this is the perfect fit. Branded residential is the future of real estate and Weller is bringing a lot to the table in Grand Bahama.

“We are now able to offer something to the market that doesn’t currently exist in North America – branded residential associated with the luxury resort brand, Six Senses Grand Bahama, in a tropical location just 60 miles from Florida, designed by one of the top design teams in the world - Olson Kundig.

“It is an untapped opportunity to participate in the formation of a new, world-class, eco-conscious community, create a new living experience for you and your family, and be part of the upward trajectory of one of the most beautiful, serene islands in the world. We are excited to offer this level of exclusivity to our clientele.”


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