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D’Aguilar: Talks underway to effect Nassau revitalization

JAYME C. PINDER
Guardian Staff Reporter
jayme@nasguard.com

Published: Aug 12, 2017

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The need to revitalize the drab downtown Nassau has been a years-long discussion, with successive administrations committing to the effort.

But business people and others who frequent the area all acknowledge that it remains in desperate need of new life.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the new administration plans to finally address the matter.

D’Aguilar said he is liaising with entrepreneurs whose businesses are downtown to discuss plans to revitalize the area.

While speaking to The Nassau Guardian on Thursday at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association Meeting, D’Aguilar said, “Downtown is a major issue and I’m still in the process of speaking to the stakeholders and trying to get a plan.

“Unfortunately, what has happened is that they are very jaded.

“So many people have come to them about this plan, that plan and the next plan (for downtown), and I have to reignite their excitement to re-engage with this process to try and get the ball moving again.”

He said, “There are many owners on Bay Street at differing or various states of wealth.

“Some want to do it, some don’t, some can afford, some can’t, some have abandoned their buildings and some are owned by people who don’t live in The Bahamas.

“So it’s hard to get that whole group together.

“We’ve got to figure out how to crack that nut, how to get everybody in one arrangement so that we can move forward as a unified force to correct it, but that’s still a work in progress.

“That’s a lot of work.”

Back in June, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis promised to “revitalize Nassau”.

“Through collaborative efforts, the City of Nassau will be revitalized to encourage greater visitor spending and create more inviting experiences for residents and visitors,” he said.

“We will refurbish the welcome center at Festival Place.

“It will be flanked by a scenic, waterfront promenade constructed from Woodes Rodgers Wharf eastward to Armstrong Street.

“This promenade will include commercial and recreational space conducive to retail and restaurant

businesses.

“This will help to re-energize the city and provide more engaging interactions for cruise passengers, and more economic opportunities for Bahamians.”

On Thursday, D’Aguilar mentioned plans to construct apartments and homes along waterfront areas downtown.

“...There are [several] components to a successful downtown and that’s living, parking, food and beverage and retail,” he said.

“We’re missing the living and parking.

“That piece of real estate along the waterfront is where one would put the living component, because they have wonderful views over the stretch of water between New Providence and Paradise Island.”

Though D’Aguilar did not say when a plan may come to fruition or estimated costs, he noted that such a project could help with more jobs.

“We have to get Bay Street going again to create construction jobs, to start the building of units where people can live, and get people moving downtown again,” he said.

“We want to give it some life again.

“Maybe if we start there, then the rest will start to fall into place.

“We’ll see.”

 


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