East Bay Street plaza approaches full occupancy

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March 09, 2012

The Elizabeth on Bay Marketplace and Marina has come a long way since the $14 million redevelopment was completed last year.
Located on the largely undeveloped and somewhat dilapidated East Bay Street, the investment represented a calculated risk by the developer to bring this area of downtown Nassau back to life.
Charles Klonaris and his brothers can now report near full occupancy, with a healthy mix of restaurants, retail and office space on the books. The plaza now has 15 tenants, he said yesterday, leaving two retail outlets and one office space still up for grabs.
"There are still a lot of critics," he said. "A lot of people who travel around the world and have gone to cities where there have been revitalizations, they see that the key to sustaining development is bringing residents back into the city. I think it's a great opportunity for Bahamians to start looking at areas where they can build more and move back into the city."
As co-chairman of the Downtown Nassau Partnership, Klonaris is especially passionate about the rejuvenation of the central core.
But while work has already begun on the up-and-coming Pompey Square near the Straw Market, East Bay Street remains elusive in terms of full-scale development.
Elizabeth on Bay, however, bucks that trend.
The construction of Sur Sushi, a trendy lounge and restaurant, should begin in the next couple of weeks, Klonaris told Guardian Business. It joins Blu, an equally trendy spot overlooking the harbor. A number of retail shops have found a home in Elizabeth on Bay, and according to Klonaris, a men's store specializing in leather goods is poised to take up a spot in the central courtyard.
A verbal agreement has been secured and the lease is being prepared, he added.
The name of the shop is unknown, although Klonaris revealed the investor is Bahamian.
The development has also snagged a major tenant to take up nearly 4,000 square feet of office space, namely SureTrader.com, an emerging online brokerage.
Some space still remains, including 1,400 square feet in the courtyard and 1,680 square feet facing Bay Street East.
Klonaris said he still hopes to take advantage of water taxi and tour operations. An hourly shuttle between Paradise Island and downtown Nassau would mean tourists are funneled to businesses along Bay Street.
Elizabeth on Bay, along with other potential developments, are ideally located for this purpose.
Referring to what he calls the "new Nassau", the vision is to bring in new ideas, fresh ideas and a better product mix. He admitted that too many buildings along East Bay Street are "dilapidated" and he anticipates the rise of a boardwalk and movement of container ports as a seminal moment in downtown's evolution.
Elizabeth on Bay might be achieving some success now. However, Klonaris acknowledged there is still plenty of work to be done, and it took a great deal of effort to get to this point.
"It has taken a little while. We went through a period when we first got the property during boom time, and then the recession hit. So it took longer, but we're happy with where we are right now.

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 03/09/2012    Category : Business, Nassau Guardian Stories

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