Disney Completes Lighthouse Point Purchase and Signs Heads of Agreement with Bahamian Government

On the very day Bob Iger mentioned Disney Cruise Line’s second Bahamian island during the March 7th Meeting of Shareholders, Disney Island Development and the Government of The Bahamas signed the Heads of Agreement for the development of Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera into a cruise port and entertainment facility.

The Government of the Bahamas also revealed Disney completed the purchase of the Lighthouse Point property from the private seller. Based on previous sales information, it is believed the private seller was Meritage Hospitality Group.

The signing took place at the Bahamian Cabinet Office on Thursday, March 7, 2019 with officials from both sides including the Prime Minister Minnis and Disney Cruise Line’s President, Jeff Vahle.

Lighthouse Point Heads Agreement Signing 20190307

Pictured at the signing from left: Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole Campbell; Secretary to the Cabinet, Camille Johnson; Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis; President, Disney Signature Experiences, Disney Cruise Line, Jeff Vahle and Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Disney Signature Experiences, Disney Cruise Line, Kim Prunty.

The acquisition of the property and the signing of the Heads of Agreement were major milestones for Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point project. However, construction of the projected $250 to $400 million low density project will not begin until the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and approved.

The Heads of Agreement states that Disney will convey 190 acres of the property including the southernmost point to the Government fo The Bahamas for conservation and a national park. The donated property donation is appraised at $6.29 million.

Disney will ensure a minimum of 120 Bahamians are employed directly during the construction of the project and the construction will maintain a minimum of an 80% Bahamian workforce. Disney promises to create 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits once the project is completed.

Disney will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programs, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Center) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of The Bahamas. Disney will also provide space for Bahamian vendors on the property for the sale of authentic, high quality Bahamian retail goods, services, souvenirs, arts and crafts, Bahamian T-shirts and other merchandise. As well as, giving priority to Bahamian owners and operators to provide port adventures for cruise passengers while its ships are in port. Disney will also seek to use Bahamian entertainers.

The Lighthouse Point project will include the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered. Disney plans to provide all citizens and residents of The Bahamas with access to the property for non-commercial purposes and will collaborate with Government and local communities to meaningfully contribute to initiatives that meet community needs, with a special focus on children and families. This includes assisting with local schools, assisting with identifying and enhancing tourist heritage sites in South Eleuthera and exploring opportunities to improve medical facilities that serve the residents of south and central Eleuthera.

Finally, Disney intends to increase the number of its ships’ calls at the Port of Nassau and/or the Port of Freeport by 30 – 40 percent over the number of calls made by Disney’s ships in 2018. Keep in mind, there are talks in place for a Dream-class ship to sail year-round from PortMiami which could easily meet or exceed Disney’s port calls to Nassau.

With respect to calls at the Port of Freeport, am not immediately thinking this indicates Disney’s plans to return to the Grand Bahamian island, but more of a general contactual agreement. Disney’s last cruise to include Freeport was on the Wonder in January 2004.

The Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis released the following statement on Saturday night March 9th following the town meeting in South Eleuthera in Tarpum Bay at the Eleuthera Arts and Cultural Center.

“Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today that the Government of The Bahamas has signed a Heads of Agreement with Disney Island Development Ltd for a proposed Cruise Port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point, Bannerman Town, South Eleuthera.

The development has a projected investment of between $250m and $400m.

Disney has completed acquisition of the property from the private seller. Approximately 190 acres of the land purchased from the private seller, including the southernmost point of the property, will be conveyed to the Government of The Bahamas for conservation and a national park. The appraised value of the land donation is $6.29 million.

Core elements of the proposed project include low density development and sustainable design, public access and economic opportunities for Bahamians.

Prime Minister Minnis made the announcement during a Town Hall Meeting to update the island’s residents on the government’s mid-year budget statement and the 30th Inter-Sessional CARICOM meeting recently held in St Kitts and Nevis.

Under the Heads of Agreement, DCL will ensure a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.

Disney also has committed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers during the life of the construction phase of the project. This is subject to qualified labor being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards

DCL will also create as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed.

The development will provide a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.

DCL will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programs, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Center) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of The Bahamas.

Space must be provided for Bahamian vendors on the property for the sale of authentic, high quality Bahamian retail goods, services, souvenirs, arts and crafts, Bahamian T-shirts and other merchandise.

Disney must also give priority to Bahamian owners and operators to provide port adventures for DCL guests while its ships are in port, and will seek to use Bahamian entertainers.

Other elements of the project include the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered.

Disney also will provide all citizens and residents of The Bahamas with access to the property for non-commercial purposes and will collaborate with Government and local communities to meaningfully contribute to initiatives that meet community needs, with a special focus on children and families.

This includes assisting with local schools, assisting with identifying and enhancing tourist heritage sites in South Eleuthera and exploring opportunities to improve medical facilities that serve the residents of south and central Eleuthera.

DCL also intends to increase the number of its ships’ calls at the Port of Nassau and/or the Port of Freeport by 30-40 percent over the number of calls made by DCL ships in 2018.

Construction of the project will not begin until the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and approved.

“The Government of The Bahamas is satisfied that it made the best decision in the interest of the Bahamian people, a sustainable future for the people of Central and South Eleuthera and the economic development of the country,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“The implementation of this project supports the government’s plan of expanding the economy of our country and economic opportunities for our people by promoting development in the Family Islands.”

The Government notes Disney’s record of environmental stewardship and will ensure that the project is implemented in a manner which safeguards the environment and is in the interests of the people of The Bahamas.”

Office of the Prime Minister
March 9th, 2019

8 thoughts on “Disney Completes Lighthouse Point Purchase and Signs Heads of Agreement with Bahamian Government

  1. james

    Do people still get off at Nassau? The last 2 DCL cruises felt like a day at sea and the top side deck was packed.

    Reply
      1. james

        It would be nice if DCL could just pay the Nassau fees and skip docking as Nassau, that way the ships would have flexibility to choose which day to dock at Castaway Cay or to take their time sailing for better fuel efficiency or calmer ride.

        People choose DCL because it’s Disney, not because they want to pay the premium to go to the same port Carnival sails.

        Reply
    1. Neil R

      We have not left the ship since our first visit there. The excursions were underwhelming, that combined with the US Government’s Travel Advisory lead us to stay onboard.

      Reply
  2. Denise S

    This should be a topic for Nassau to review, we went to Atlantis (Paradise Island) blah…We went to Hilton (resorts for a day) loud Construction; both times mayhem trying to return to the ship. Our family never leaves the ship at Nassau anymore, what a shame but it is too stressful & not that much fun. On that note love Disney’s private island & would go on a cruise that just stopped there, even overnight, how about it DCL? Nassau day last I booked a nice spa day, with Disney Cruise on port day there was a bit of a discount, but the high pressured upsell at the end ruined it for me, (never again) that’s me you see on the pool deck, and I promise I don’t chair hog 🙂

    Reply
  3. Antoinette Pringle Pritchett

    Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery (N30) was decent tour for the Nassau stop. we did this on our last cruise to Bahamas (2 yrs ago) and we really enjoyed learning about Junkanoo.

    Reply
  4. Bret Sigillo

    This is a travesty. Disney will soon destroy what is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. How the Bahamian government could have let them get away with it just shows they are complicit.

    Reply

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