By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
REPRESENTATIVES of the developer behind the Cotton Bay Club’s $200m revival have forecast that the project will generate an annual $12m economic impact in wages and taxes alone when fully operational.
Executives from Cotton Bay Holdings, the Ritz- Carlton Reserve developer headed by Colombian billionaire, Dr Luis Carlos Sarmiento, gave the projection to government and community stakeholders at a recent south Eleuthera meeting where they confirmed they hope to start construction this year subject to obtaining all the necessary permits and approvals.
Daniel Zuleta, Cotton Bay Holdings’ company manager, said: “The project’s second phase, the construction stage, is scheduled to begin later this year and is anticipated to stimulate 300 direct jobs and is expected to last at least 24 months, providing in excess of $8m annually in wages.
“During this phase, two new public roads will be developed, Cotton Bay Road and Cocoplum Drive, which will provide public beach access. These roads are being designed by CCG (Caribbean Civil Group).” Eleuthera-based companies, Nu View Construction and Quick Fix Construction, have already completed preliminary work on site.
Outlining the projected future economic impact, the developer added: “Once completed and operational, the resort will employ 200 Bahamians resulting in wages in excess of $10m per annum. Additionally, through taxes and fees, the development estimates a further economic contribution of over $2m annually.”
Attendees at the meeting included Clay Sweeting, MP for south and central Eleuthera, as well as island administrators and representatives from the Ministry of Public Works and the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP).
‘‘Cotton Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve is planned as an open-air luxury resort to feature 90 guest rooms and 60 Ritz-Carlton Reserve branded residences, designed to include a mixture of two to five-bedroom villas,” Mr Zuleta added. “In addition to first-class luxury amenities and services, a signature 18-hole championship golf course, a luxurious spa, swimming pools and signature restaurants are planned for the island retreat.”
The Cotton Bay Ritz- Carlton Reserve will be one of only five such resorts globally, and Mr Zuleta added: “The Cotton Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve will span approximately 220 acres of the 400-acre property currently owned by the developer. The remainder of the property is reserved for a future developmental phase, yet to be planned.”
Given the scope and complexity of the project, he said it required a phased approach beginning with the current design and pre-construction activities. “We remain committed to assembling a team of best-in-class professionals to collaborate and bring this project to full fruition,” said Mr Zuleta, as he announced that a number of Bahamian service providers and consultants have been contracted already.
The developers are also in the process of selecting the project’s architects of record, who will be announced in the coming weeks. Cotton Bay Holdings said: “We are committed to preserving the natural beauty of our island paradise as a key component of our CSR (corporate social responsibility) strategy, protecting the environment and preserving the unique ecosystem and natural resources for future generations to enjoy.
“Waypoint Consulting Ltd have been retained as our environmental consultant to develop our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP), and are working alongside our design teams and the Ministry of Environment and Housing’s Department of Environmental Planning & Protection (DEPP).”
Melissa Alexiou, spokesperson for Waypoint Consulting, said: “We provide professional environmental consulting services throughout The Bahamas and are excited to be working with Cotton Bay on this transformative development for our country.
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