April 29, 2013
GOVERNOR'S HARBOUR, Eleuthera - Developers behind an elite resort on Royal Island have resumed construction after years of delays, according to a Cabinet minister.
Royal Island, located just four miles off North Eleuthera, was supposed to be home to a high-end resort when it was first approved in May 2006. The development featured five private villas with king size beds, luxurious bathrooms and 1,500-square-feet of living space. Each villa was also designed to accommodate a 1,500-square-foot pool and fitness center.
Guests would fly into North Eleuthera's airport and be greeted by Royal Island staff before being transported to the island on a private vessel.
However, the project came to an abrupt halt in 2008.
Khaalis Rolle, minister of state for investments, revealed to Guardian Business at Eleuthera's inaugural Business Outlook last week that work has started once again on the project.
"There are activities taking place at Royal Island now, but not at the same scale that there were initially. I met with the developers and the capital partners involved a couple months ago and they are very much restarting," he said.
The 440-acre Royal Island development is the brainchild of Roger Staubach, a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback; Jack Nicklaus, the world-famous golfer, and Alan Fuerstman, CEO of Montage Hotels and Resorts.
Cypress Equities is the development affiliate of The Staubach Company, which is the global real estate advisory firm founded by Staubach. After purchasing Royal Island in May 2006, Staubach announced plans to develop an ultra-luxury resort and private club residential community. It was designed to be an exclusive community with private residences, a club, a 300-slip marina and boutique hotel and spa. It had also announced that Royal Island was to be the site for the first Jack Nicklaus Golf Club.
Rolle believes with developments like Royal Island coming back on stream shows that Eleuthera is starting to come back. In the end, he felt it would undoubtedly translate into jobs for Bahamians.
"When there is economic activity and investment that usually translates into entrepreneurial opportunities, spin-off services that can be provided and jobs. You need people to help execute your vision and business plan so we're going to begin to see all of those things return at a high and sustainable level over the short to medium term," he explained.
"So we're seeing that Eleuthera is coming back. In the short term, it's being scaled back just to get restarted. So we will see what those activities translate into."
The French Leave Resort, Cocodimamas and the recently opened $30 million Cove Eleuthera Resort are just some of the developments that have been constructed on Eleuthera in recent times.
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