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2005-05-11 14:35:43

Baha Mar Long Way Off From Completing Hotel Designs

'We have at least two years worth of design work and engineering studies before the first nail gets hammered or the first shovel gets put in the ground,' said Baha Mar executive.

While the concept for the $1.2 billion Cable Beach redevelopment project will remain the same, the design and final product could look absolutely different from the images that have been shown so far, according to Michael Sansbury, chief operating officer of Baha Mar Development Company Ltd.

Mr. Sansbury was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Nassau's luncheon at the Buena Vista Restaurant on Tuesday.

"Everything you just saw in this video is just a concept," he told Rotarians after showing a video providing some insight on the much-touted project.

"We have at least two years worth of design work and engineering studies before the first nail gets hammered or the first shovel gets put in the ground.

"It would not surprise me at all if what actually gets built looks very different from what you saw there, but we are committed to the programme of at least three hotels, a village, a casino, a new commercial centre and spectacular landscaping, a golf course and all the elements that you saw on that video. It just might not look like that."

In 2009, Baha Mar is expected to open phase one of its development inclusive of a 1,000 room casino hotel, a renovated 1,000 room convention hotel, a luxury 300 room property and an additional 400 renovated rooms, in addition to world class amenities, residential offerings and a marina site.

Their project is said to be the most expensive phase one investment in the history of The Bahamas.

Mr. Sansbury said Baha Mar will continue to operate the Nassau Beach hotel, Wyndham Nassau and the Radisson resorts under the name the Cable Beach Resorts, while the company conducts its studies of the properties.

"One of our objectives in doing these designs and engineering studies is to keep the existing hotels open as long as possible so that we preserve employment and frankly we also would like to have the revenue stream for as long as possible," Mr. Sansbury said.

According to Mr. Sansbury, Baha Mar is investing approximately $15 million in a capital improvement programme to improve the properties.

Baha Mar officials have said that the upgrade will consist of improvements to the Radisson Cable Beach, complete renovations of rooms in the casino tower at The Wyndham resort, and new decorative items for the Nassau Beach Hotel.

As part of the renovations, Baha Mar has also committed to providing substantial upgrades to the existing landscaping and all new casino equipment.

Mr. Sansbury pointed to factors like the increase in airlift to The Bahamas that will likely aid the company's future success.

"So we believe in the current destination and we will market it under the name Cable Beach Resorts, but keeping the independent identities of the hotels and we will retain the Radisson and the Wyndham franchises," Mr. Sansbury said.

He also explained what differentiates Baha Mar from other properties, like Kerzner International's, Atlantis Resort.

"First of all we will bring in international brand partners, an international hotel company and an international casino company," Mr. Sansbury said.

"The casino will be branded and the properties will be branded at different price points and at different levels of brands within the international hotel company."

Royanne Forbes, The Bahama Journal

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