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Wynn's 300 building jobs to 'far outweigh' environment impacts

PENTHOUSES AT GOLDWYNN RENDERING.

PENTHOUSES AT GOLDWYNN RENDERING.

• $100m penthouse to boost 'economic vibrancy'

• Pledges 'limited' effect on Goodman's Bay area

• Regulators mandate lighting to assist aircraft

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A $100m, 14-storey Goodman's Bay penthouse complex will create 300 construction jobs and generate benefits "that far outweigh" the touted limited environmental impact, it has been pledged.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Wynn Development's second phase expansion, unveiled yesterday as part of the consultation process ahead of a February 20 public hearing, asserted that the project will create "much-needed economic stimulus for New Providence" by also creating 30 permanent jobs and new tax earnings for the Government.

The report, produced by Russell Craig & Associates, whose lead principal is Christopher Russell, former director of forestry in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, described any "unavoidable negative environmental impact" from the development's construction and operation as "limited" and said sufficient "mitigation measures" will be employed to minmise any fall-out even further.

"The project construction timeline for the GoldWynn Penthouses is anticipated to be some two years, with a total investment cost of some $100m [and] a far-reaching, long-term beneficial impact on the economy of New Providence," the EIA said, arguing that it "will further contribute to the economic vibrancy of Cable Beach".

"This is particularly significant given the high-end residential market demands in the Cable Beach area, attracting wealthy local and foreign clients to purchase the penthouses, contributing to the increased and sustained flow in real property tax and VAT revenues to the Bahamas Government," the report added.

"The projected construction jobs are estimated at 300 persons. A projection of 30 permanent jobs for the operations of the penthouses will have a multiplier effect on the workforce by reducing unemployment rates on New Providence."

The scale of that unemployment reduction was not specified, but the EIA study added further: "The GoldWynn Penthouses project site, situated on the pristine beach in the vicinity of Goodman's Bay, offers an excellent opportunity for sustainable development of a residential penthouses’ investment.

"The project, with its investment of some $100m, is expected to generate much-needed economic stimulus for New Providence - construction jobs, permanent jobs and entrepreneurial activities. The project benefits far outweigh any limited unavoidable negative environmental impact identified.

"Employment of best management practices, having regard to national environmental legislation and international conventions and standards, will ensure the project is developed and becomes operational in a sustainable manner. Utilising the mitigation measures will guarantee that any negative impacts identified are reduced/or are mitigated and are sustained."

The environmental approvals process, which is overseen by the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP), and the obtaining of a certificate of environmental clearance (CEC) is - for the moment at least - likely to be the last regulatory and permitting hurdle for Wynn to overcome before it can proceed with construction work.

The developer obtained the necessary go-ahead from the Town Planning Committee in early November 2023, which resolved to grant it site plan application approval after it "satisfied" long-standing parking concerns in the Goodman's Bay area.

However, Ed Hoffer, whose property will border Wynn’s penthouses on the eastern boundary, was among the project’s most vocal opponents at the Town Planning hearing and he is likely to appeal the Committee’s decision to the Planning and Subdivision Appeals Board.

Meanwhile, a notice announcing the EIA consultation revealed that the February 20 public hearing will take place in a meeting room at Wynn's existing GoldWynn resort at Goodman's Bay, which is adjacent to the development site. One observer, speaking on condition of anonymity, yesterday queried the venue choice on the basis that other EIA hearings have had to find neutral locations such as schools.

Detailing the specifics of Wynn's plans, the EIA said: "The Penthouses envisage a 14-storey edifice (210 feet height) comprising 40 spacious penthouse units. The ground first floor will be a parking lot for 38 parking slots – 1.5 per person - and 14 slots in the front of building, and an infinity pool, reflecting a much lower overall density and footprint than the original building to the west.

"Moreover, the penthouses will be strictly residential, with no hotel, commercial or food and beverage elements. There will be a buffer of at least 25 feet between the subject property development and that of the property owner to the east [Mr Hoffer].

"On site there is an existing residential building constructed in 1984. The penthouse development plans call for the demolition of this building..... With respect to parking issues, there will be off-site parking for construction workers during the construction phase," the report added.

"Despite parking spaces being less than what is usually required, the prospective owners will be predominately second home owners, so it is not anticipated that there will ever be full occupancy at the complex [with] a maximum of 40 parking spaces."

A new seawall will be constructed to prevent coastal erosion during tropical storms and hurricanes, and the EIA added: "In accordance with Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2021, the building will have intensity obstacle roof top lighting during construction. The Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas offered 'no objections' to the construction of the building subject to compliance with the 2021 regulations."

Alexander Ferguson, the Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas director-general, in that 'no objection' letter of October 10, 2023, disclosed that the Government's Investments Board (really the Cabinet or a Cabinet sub-committee) had given the GoldWynn penthouse project an approval letter on August 31, 2022.

"We have reviewed the information provided and determined that, as the proposed development has a height of 210 feet (64 metres) it will require obstacle roof-top lighting in accordance with the Civil Aviation Regulations 2021," Mr Ferguson told Randy Hart, Wynn's vice-president.

"The distance from the airport is just at the limitations of the Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) for a non-instrument runway. Therefore, the lighting requirement is mandatory. The Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas has no objection to the construction of the building, but Wynn Development must provide the Authority with the assurance that they will include the required intensity obstacle lighting during construction and diagrams/plans confirming compliance."

The EIA also pledged that Wynn will contribute to further improvements to the Goodman's Bay area. "The developer has also demonstrated its commitment as a responsible developer by providing voluntary routine cleaning of the public beach at Goodman's Bay Park," it added.

"Moreover, the developer is in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Public Works and Bahamas Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority to enhance the road median, verges, roundabout at Goodman's Bay neighbourhood at its expense with ambitious beautification, landscaping and improvement projects, which includes beautification of road verges near to the Office of the Prime Minister.

"This activity will offset the removal of vegetation on the lots subject to development of the penthouses..... As there will be no construction on the coastal/marine environment, it is projected that there will be no negative impact on these ecosystems in the medium to long-term - no marina development, no sediment and run-off."

Comments

Dawes 5 months, 2 weeks ago

So 53 parking spots for 40 units (no idea how they said the 38 units was 1.5 spots per person when there is 40 units). I agree there is a chance all units won't be occupied, but lets say its a busy period so its at 75%, thats 30 units with at least 1 car. Then you have the 30 people who they say will be employed, and then you have guests. They need to turn that median into parking, or just give them Goodmans bay parking lot. I'll never understand how it can be called town planning when they think each unit will only need 1.5 car parking spaces. Most families have at least two cars, so you already have a problem.

bahamianson 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Nontheless, there will be an environmental impact. Ok, so, going forward, how do we resolve this? If the project is going to cut down 50 trees and desteoy 4 coral reefs but generate 100 million in revenue, it is ok? Just asking.

rosiepi 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Judging from other condo complexes in New Province the odds of this one generating 30 full time jobs is a non starter, 30 part time jobs is a stretch! As for 300 full time construction jobs that’s highly doubtful as well.

ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

No amount of jobs outweighs negative environmental impact. We have more than enough evidence of beaches denuded of all traces of sand and hills that do not grow themselves back

TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

"This project is particularly significant!! --- 'Tis a given that the natives hopes of land ownership is increasingly being --- Low-ended --- To make room for residential market demands will attract wealthy foreign clients to purchase the penthouses, ---- Contributing to --- Decreased opportunities to --- Affordable real properties ownerships' for the locals. --- Yes?

realitycheck242 5 months, 2 weeks ago

These penthouses will start at $2,500,000. The average Bahamian is being boxed in on this island. Soon our grand kids will have to travel to a family island to go on the beach.

TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

@ComradeRealiy, is you aware that there's --- No such a thing in Freeport as --- Private [Segregated''] Beaches --- Yes?

becks 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Buildings this tall should not be allowed to be built this close to the beach. They should be required to be at least 500 meters back away from the dune.

realitycheck242 5 months, 2 weeks ago

With the aerodynamic design of this building and its proximity to the beach, You can rest assured that the foundation will extend hundreds of feet into the ground. Out of the 100 mill cost. 10 mil will go to just the foundation.

TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Looks to me to be a cutting-edge --- 14-tilted storey aerodynamic design of glass --- Enclosed in pure white concrete --- Ugliness! --- Yes?

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