Troubled Bahamas Site Back on the Market

Troubled Bahamas Site Back on the Market

Commercial News » Latin America Commercial News Edition | By Kevin Brass | October 31, 2013 2:59 PM ET

A 385-acre development site billed as "the most important remaining tract of land in the Bahamas" is officially back on the market.

The South Ocean Resort site is targeted for a $1 billion mixed-use development designed by golfer Greg Norman's Southern Cross Development. The site on 3,000-feet of waterfront on New Providence has been in limbo for years, after a development team hoping to build a lavish resort collapsed in a flurry of lawsuits.

The site is now controlled by the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP), which foreclosed on the property in 2011. Last year CCWIPP commissioned Southern Cross to develop a master plan for the site, working with the Bahamas government, in hopes of making the site more attractive to potential buyers.

Southern Cross' plan for the site calls for a casino, hotels and residential units grouped around a 60-slip marina and an oceanfront lagoon. The site is adjacent to the existing Blue Shark Golf Course, designed by Mr. Norman, which has been closed for many years, due to the financial issues of the owners.

In 2008, a group led by Florida developer Roger Stein and Plainfield Asset Management, a three-year-old hedge fund created by Wall Street money man Max Holmes, announced plans to create an $860 million development on the site. But the plans quickly fell apart and CCWIPP foreclosed on a $72.5 million mortgage. Plainfield liquidated and deregistered in 2012.

CBRE Hotels, the listing agent for the site, is "actively fielding inquiries from hotel, development and investment groups based in the United States, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia" for the site, according to a statement from the brokerage.

The project will benefit from the proximity to airport and the high-end community of Albany, the firm said in the statement. The development plan should also help, although the buyers are under no obligation to follow the plan, according to media reports.

"South Ocean clearly represents the most significant development opportunity to come to market not only in The Bahamas but also in the greater Caribbean," CBRE Hotels vice president Paul Weimer said in a statement.

Any project on the site will compete with Baha Mar, the $3.4 billion, 2,200-room development due to open on New Providence next year.

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