Friday, December 30, 2011

Key infrastructure projects mark 2011

The year 2011 was a banner year for Bahamas infrastructure projects. Some of the most exciting projects we witnessed were the completion of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium and the $12 million Solomon's Fresh Market, as well as initial redevelopment work at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).  

The Solomon's Fresh Market is located west of the Old Fort Bay Town Centre. This new market in Nassau has 500 booths within a space of over 38,000 square feet.  It is well-ventilated and there are proper drainage systems, and sellers will have access to a special demonstration area within the market. It has been open only about a month, replacing an old space lost to a devastating fire ten years ago, but we've heard that in this short time many new lease contracts are being signed. 

New Providence Development Company president of finance and secretary Marcus Grammatico in fact told the Nassau Guardian earlier this month that they expected the new Nassau market to attract "young professionals and professional-type offices" in 2012.  

The article also noted that these new tenants would add to an already dynamic mix of retail stores such as cafes, furniture and accessories stores, a clothing store, and a pharmacy, among others. We can't wait to see how these expansions in the less developed areas of the West will create new commercial opportunities for nearby Old Fort Bay and Albany.

The National Stadium project, which cost $30 million to complete after two years of construction with a Chinese business partner, is another important leisure facility with outstanding potential. It is a multipurpose venue spanning over 450 acres and accommodating over 15,000 people, and part of a larger master plan for the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. 

Over at the airport, a U.S. departure terminal has been opened in the first phase of a master redevelopment project worth $409.5 million in total. Phase two of the project, which they say is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012, will include other improvements in  LPIA's arrival and departure facilities. Given the increased emphasis, among other things, on tourist development strategies within the Bahamas, this should help increase our medium and long-term appeal as an investment destination. 

The New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) has not done as well as the projects we mentioned, mired as it was by controversy and delay. The road project required an additional infusion of $40 million dollars and will now cost the government a total of $154 million to complete. The government now plans to procure about $50 million in funds through the IDB to achieve this. Hopefully the road will be completed without further long-term disruption to businesses in Prince Charles Drive and Market Street.

That said, in 2012 we expect more good things with the rise of Arawak Cay port, a project which will take the better part of twenty years to complete. Funds for Arawak Port Development (APD) project will come from a $10 million IPO being held over the Christmas period until January 31, 2012.
We hope the IPO is well-subscribed. The port should boost Bahamas' GDP by $800 million, according to a recently released KPMG Corporate Finance economic impact statement mentioned by The Tribune. More importantly for us, it will free up a crucial 20 acres of attractive waterfront land in downtown Bay Street.

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