Baha Mar Awards $2M In Demo Contacts

Wyndham to meet wrecking ball in June and Bahamas Marine given $2.5M contract for beach restoration

Baha Mar has awarded more than $2 million in contracts to local companies to demolish two towers of the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino.

The Cable Beach hotel's date with the wrecking ball is scheduled for June, with clearing works expected to run all the way into October.

This phase of the $2.6 billion mega development is intended to facilitate ocean views and make way for more than one thousand yards of uninterrupted beach running down from the Sheraton.

Meanwhile, Bahamas Marine was awarded a separate contract for the beach restoration worth "north of $2.5 million".

Laura Pinder, the environmental monitor at Baha Mar, told Guardian Business that the beach restoration is approximately 50 percent complete. The deadline for completion is June 1.

"What they are doing is placing the boulders in the water, first along the line of the surge wall," she explained. "Once they do that to the right height, they can begin to place special fabric and back fill it. Then there is a concrete wall measuring about 9.5 feet with the ability to withstand hurricane impacts."

Pinder added that once the second phase of the coastal works is finished, the demolition of the Wyndham kicks in. In addition to the buildings, she told Guardian Business they have to demolish a gazebo and break water dock.

"These existing structures caused the erosion because they interrupt the flow of sand. If you look at an aerial photo, there is the beach on front of the Sheraton, but it is unnaturally wide, and on the other side it is badly eroded," she said.

In fact, she said there is "no beach in front of the Wyndham" and the works "will be a big improvement over the current situation".

Indeed, for the rising resort on Cable Beach, the works will pave the way for a sprawling uninterrupted white sand beachfront, which expected be one of the destination’s big draws.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of administration and external affairs, told Guardian Business that it will "correct and revive what it looked like in the 1970s, when you had one continuous beach".

Turning to the construction of the hotels, the Baha Mar executive said the casino tower has now reached the fourth floor.

"It's our intention to be on the ninth floor by the early part of July, which will be a significant milestone," he added.

Of course, as work continues on the 55,000-acre construction site, business goes on at the existing properties that will be absorbed into the mega resort.

Sands reported that the Sheraton and Wyndham are "trending better" than last year in terms of occupancy, although not at the same level as some other establishments. This week, the Bahamas Hotel Association released a report which noted that top hotels in New Providence have seen an average occupancy rate of 84.3 percent in March, an improvement over the 80.1 percent recorded in the same period last year.

The Baha Mar executive said there are "pockets" of time where they run at these levels, and on some weekends the rate is even higher.

But overall, he pegged occupancy this winter season in the high 70s.

The Nassau Guardian
Published: April 27, 2012