By the Caribbean Journal staff
Global Ports Holding has formalized its partnership to create what may become the leading cruise port in the entire Caribbean in the heart of Nassau, The Bahamas.
GPH has signed a $250 million heads of agreement with the government of The Bahamas, with a plan to transform Nassau’s Prince George Wharf into “one of the great waterfront destinations of the world.”
The event means the official start of the project, which is billed as the biggest economic boost for the Bahamian cruise industry in 50 years.
The move comes after six months of negotiations between GPH, the world’s largest cruise port operator, and the government of The Bahamas.
GPH’s bid won the government’s cruise port redevelopment RFP process in February of this year.
“Today’s signing is an extraordinary day for the Bahamian people and for the residents of New Providence,” said Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis. “We are embarking on a quarter of a billion-dollar project to redevelop what will become the iconic, world-renowned and new Nassau Cruise Port.”
Under what is a 25-year operating concession agreement, GPH aims to bring up to 2 million more cruise passengers to Nassau every year, creating what the company says will be “thousands of direct and indirect new jobs.”
The ambitious project would mean a dramatic transformation of the capital’s waterfront, adding amenities like a major entertainment pavilion, a Junkanoo museum, and a walkable waterfront the company says would rival “any, anywhere.”
The Port of Nassau already welcomes around 4 million passengers every year.
“We are grateful for the support of the government and the people of The Bahamas and are delighted to serve as your partners in the redevelopment of your cruise port,” said Mehmet Kutman, Chairman of Global Ports Holding. “One of our ultimate goals for this project has always been to support the people of The Bahamas by enhancing the current tourism product through this project. This day marks the beginning of this process as we work together to create a venture that will become a long-standing, successful partnership for all. We look forward to helping you maintain this proudly Bahamian asset, which we pledge to take very good care of during our lease.”
The Nassau project adds to GPH’s existing Caribbean portfolio that includes ports in Havana and Antigua.
The project becomes the next chapter in what has become a full-fledged rebirth in Nassau, from Graycliff’s popular Heritage Village to the dramatic The Pointe project on Bay Street, with the latter home to the soon-to-debut Margaritaville resort and residences, itself a $250 million project.