The Baha Mar development, which sits on the edge of the island’s Goodman’s Bay close to the capital Nassau, has become the world’s biggest white elephant – an incomplete playground of pools and palm trees.
Boasting in excess of 2,300-plus rooms, a Jack Nicklaus signature 18-hole golf course, scores of dining chains, plus shops selling high-end brands such as Cartier, Rolex and Tiffany, it currently sits empty after the company behind the project filed for bankrupt protection.
Despite being 97 per cent finished, the delay in opening has put the Bahamian state economy under threat and placed China’s reputation as a credible partner on international construction deals firmly in the spotlight.
Baha Mar was expected to create 5,000 new jobs and a $130m payroll – adding around 12 per cent to the Bahamas’ GDP. But its failure to open on time (it was scheduled to launch in December 2014) has hit the Bahamas’ soverign credit rating; Standard & Poor’s downgraded it to just one notch above junk status last year.
It has been hoped that the project's developer, lender and contractor would negotiate an agreement on how to complete the $3.5 billion project. However, developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, continues to cite the actions of contractor China Construction America, as well as the Bahamas government and its unwillingness to allow the developer to file for bankruptcy protection, as primary reasons for the impasse.