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Berry Islands | News  
Shakira in $485m hotel development
October 10 , 2007
Nassau, Bahamas

SENSATIONAL Colombian singer Shakira is among the principal investors behind a grandiose $485 million resort project earmarked for a private island in the Berry Islands, with plans to create an artistic, music and sporting mecca.

The Heads of Agreement for the project, which were signed on the Christie-led PLP administration's last day in office a day before the general election, call for the Bonds Cay project to include an Institute of Hospitality, Institute for Sustainable Living, Music and Video Production Centre and nonprofit Institute for Caribbean Music.

Quite how such ambitious plans for a remote private island with no existing infrastructure will be executed remains to be seen, let alone whether the investors - who include Shakira and her boyfriend, the son of former Argentine president Fernando de la Rue - will achieve a return on their investment after incurring such heavy build-out costs - remains to be seen.

One source familiar with the project yesterday told The Tribune that little progress seemed to have happened since the Heads of Agreement was signed, and the development's size was totally unsuited for the island.

"It's a Shakira fantasy," the source said. "She's got people telling her she can do this, but the scope is far too big."
Many are likely to feel Bonds Cay is far more saited to a niche, upscale, boutique resort.

It is also questionable whether Shakira and her fellow principals have enough equity and project financing in place yet to carry out their Bonds Cay project.

The Heads of Agreement states: "In anticipation of the fact that the owner and the developer are in the early stages of negotiations with one or more independent third party investors with a view to such investor(s) becoming an equity partner in the project."

The Heads of Agreement also makes plans for a 14,000 square foot art gallery on Bonds Cay, which "will be a premier art gallery of the Bahamas", and an 85,000 square foot sports centre "which will have the capability to host large scale

Among the sports centre's facilities will be six tennis courts, a soccer pitch. and Olympic-size swimming pool, but exactly how persons will get to Bonds Cay for these activities - and why they would want to undertake such a journey in the first place - was not explained.

The Heads of Agreement for the Bonds Cay project, which was tabled in the House of Assembly by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham on Wednesday, said that Shakira and her investor group had acquired the island from Hurricane Hole Ltd on November 23, 2005, with this deal amended on March 19, 2007.

It is thought the purchase price was around $16 million, as this is the listing price for Bonds Cay on the website of
Sothebys, the international realtor.The Bonds Cay development is projected to employ 200 workers at the construction peak, and is forecast to provide 225 permanent jobs when fully operational.


The first phase of Bonds Cay's development, which is due to involve a $205 million investment, is planned to feature 135 residential lots ranging in size from 0.4-5 acres; a 23,000 square foot luxury boutique hotel of between 40-50 rooms that does not exceed two storeys; 65 club villas (15 of which are for artists in the Residence programme); a 143,500 square foot platform; and 59, 000 square foot Island Club, featuring two swimming poolsand tennis courts.

Phase I will also feature a marina with 100 boat slips, able to accommodate motor boats and yachts ranging from 30-150 feet. Three helipads and two seaplane docks are also involved.To accommodate permanent residents working at the Bonds Cay development, the Phase I construction will also involve building a multi-purpose community building, public access dock, market and convenience store, boat storage for up to 50 boats, and a bone fishing facility that is to be owned and operated by Bahamians.

Phase II, according to the Heads of Agreement, is due to start after Phase I's end and will involve a capital investment of $195 million. This phase will include 72 residential units covering 110,000 square feet; a 154,000 squarefoot platform; art gallery, 50 artist units and 30 artist studios; sports centre; and 260,000 square platform. Some 51 units will be added to the worker and permanent resident accommodation, along with a clinic, "worship centre",Day Care facility for children; farm; and equestrian centre and horse stables.A 13,000 square foot retail area will be owned and operated by Bahamians.

The final Phase III construction, involving an $85 million investment, is due to take two years and start when Phase Il is completed. This will involve fractional units covering 102,000 square feet; 23,000 square foot amphitheatre; 51 permanent residential units; 123,000 square foot platform; Music and Video Production Centre; and Institute of Hospitality.


Source: The Tribune

Berry Islands | News  
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