Exuma Resort Investment Under Negotiation

An international developer is hoping to create hundreds of jobs at an "iconic" luxury resort on Exuma. with a project which could represent up to $140 million of investment in The Bahamas.

Brilla Group, a Miami-based private equity firm which specializes in acquiring luxury beach front hotels and resorts, is currently negotiating a land deal on Exuma worth $40 million.

While the deal has not been signed yet the company, which already owns a 500-acre site on Eleuthera, hopes to have it signed and sealed within 90 days. Should it be successful Brilla says construction could begin next year.

The company has been in talks with the government and Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace.

Adam Cohen, co-founder, director and chief operating officer at Brilla Group, said: "We are in the middle of a major acquisition which will be iconic. It is important to say the deal isn't finalized yet but we are confident. This is something we are very excited about, it is our number one priority right now.

"We are talking about $40 million simply for the land, if you factor in the construction and development you are adding another $50 million to $100 million.

"We are particularly attracted to The Bahamas because of the security it represents, personal, legal, political and financial.

"We believe we will be a partner with The Bahamas for decades to come.

"There is a big push to support the Family Islands and we support that, more investment is needed. The inherent natural beauty of The Bahamas and the Family Islands is unsurpassed.

"We have a Heads of Agreement already in place which has been approved by the current administration. The support we have had has been excellent.

"This will represents hundreds of jobs, this project will be a major employer.

"The finance is all in place and it is an all equity project. Brilla comes to this with no debt attached to the development and carrying no debt as a company.

"We want to have a real partnership with the Bahamian people, we want to use the local eco-system of talent. We are very optimistic that we will have everything locked down within 90 days and would look at beginning construction in 2010 if possible."

Brilla also already owns a 500 acre site in Eleuthera and Cohen said the company was waiting to see how the economic climate panned out to decide what kind of development would be best suited for the site, which boasts two miles of coastline.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said: "We have pledged our support to work with the developers in terms of providing adequate air lift.

"We are working with the developer, and simultaneously with other developers, in particular on Eleuthera, to ensure these projects are very much in keeping with the environment.

"We are committed to working to improve access and airlift, that is what we have done with Sandals at Exuma, and that is what we will do here."

Source: The Nassau Guardian