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Abaco Club sold for $30M

Additional $30M investment planned for phase two
Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Dec 15, 2014

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Southworth Development has acquired The Abaco Club on Winding Bay from Marriott Vacation Worldwide Corporation (MVWC) in a $30 million all-cash purchase, in partnership with members and residents of the development, and is already looking forward to investing another $30 million in a second phase of the development.

Southworth President and CEO David Southworth told Guardian Business that the company, which now owns and operates private clubs and residential communities in The Bahamas, the United States, and Scotland, invested $30 million into the sale and the first phase of its renovations for the property.

“Another $30 million will follow that, and that will have the property in the shape that we envision it,” he said, noting that phase two of the 534-acre property would largely center on the addition of a beach clubhouse and village.

Prime Minister Perry Christie welcomed the sale, stating that the investment in the property would greatly benefit Abaco through increased home building, tourism and jobs for Bahamians through an estimated $348 million in combined home construction and additional infrastructure project costs.

“This is precisely the type of partner that can deliver on the expectations of existing members to reestablish the club’s rating as a first-class, five-star resort, while restoring homeowners’ equity, and safeguarding the marketability and value of the real estate investments,” said Christie.

Christie stated that employment boosts and entrepreneurial opportunities would vary based on the type of construction undertaken in the development, with 66 projected construction jobs in the second year of development, and 102 projected jobs in year three.

Southworth and Christie noted that an initial $10 million would be used to upgrade the property’s golf course, which was recently ranked the top course in The Bahamas, and eighth throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, by Golf Week Magazine.

The sale puts an end to a series of legal disputes that have surrounded the property for more than a year. Homeowners originally sued MVWC for over $10 million, alleging that MVWC had neglected the property and had failed to meet other contractual obligations. MVWC countered by offering to sell the resort to a group of homeowners for $28 million, which they refused.

Christie stated that the Marsh Harbour airport’s new terminal, the projected 2015 completion of a new $39 million commercial port in Cooper’s Town, and an uptick in second home activities had positioned Abaco for strong economic growth moving forward.

“Abaco is set to become a market leader in the region for successfully built and managed mixed-use developments, encompassing both small and large-scale hotel, resort, and second home communities.

“This will now place Abaco in a position to attract new commercial airlift from major carriers in the United States of America and Canadian cities,” said Christie, adding that increased demand would require the lengthening of the Marsh Harbour runway.

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Last Updated on Monday, 15 December 2014 17:06

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