Elite lodge seeks “best of the best”

The following is the lead article in the November 2, 2011 issue of “The Nassau Guardian” newspaper by Jeffrey Todd, NG Business Editor.

Multi-million-dollar Black Fly joins forces to U.S. company and will serve at the heart of rising Schooner Bay development

Flats Fisherman
The lodge is expected to not only attract high-net-worth tourists, but investors in the Abaco development.

A multi-million-dollar fishing lodge now under construction in Abaco plans to attract “the best of the best” when it comes to tourism, while providing the heart of a development that could change the island’s economy.

Through a powerful joint venture, Black Fly Bonefish Lodge in the Schooner Bay development is trying to catch the big fish.

“Fly fishing clientele are top of the food chain when it comes to tourism in this country,” said Clint Kemp, one of the key investors behind the project.

“Not only are they high net worth, but they tend to come in private aircraft and are excellent repeat visitors. They aren’t just coming for one week. They bring their friends and family and their presence often leads to further investment.”

The lodge, slated for completion in 2013, will feature eight large rooms, a restaurant, bar and supplies store. A new fleet of boats will also be offered, giving guests access to salt-water fly fishing and deep water fishing.

Coming in at $1,000 per night for the full experience, the boutique lodge is meant to cater to exclusive guests which are often synonymous with the sport.

Meanwhile, Black Fly has also partnered with Nervous Waters, one of the most recognizable names in fly fishing, which operates 14 establishments all over the world.

Kemp told Guardian Business that Nervous Waters has bought a stake in the lodge and now acts as a shareholder.

“They bought a substantial stake in the company,” he explained.

“That gives us the good housing seal of approval.”

Kemp said the lodge will also be open to the general public, although certain areas are meant for guests only, such as the cigar smoking room on the top floor.

Kemp estimated the initial cost of the project to be between $4 million and $5 million.

But beyond the exclusivity of one lodge, Orjan Lindroth the president of the development company behind Schooner Bay, added that this venture serves as a centerpiece for what should one day become a flourishing harbor town.

“The lodge sits at the head,” he told Guardian Business.

“It’s very important architecturally and creates that feel. It will become a meeting place for friends and family.”

Lindroth explained the idea behind the property is to create a “robust business model” that can cater to not just the tourists but the community as well.

As work on the lodge kicks into gear, Schooner Bay continues to rise up around it.

Lindroth said five houses are now complete, and another 10 are expected to be done in the late winter or early spring. Five other separate dwellings are slated to begin construction around Christmas.

A six-unit condominium unit, consisting of traditional buildings with both residential and commercial units, is breaking ground in February 2012, he added.

Several of these units have been sold already, with prices ranging from $250,000 to $350,000.

Lindroth said the pricing is meant to reflect the wide cross-section residents Schooner Bay wishes to attract.

Schooner Bay Harbour

The harbor opened in June, with the lodge resting at its mouth.

The name for the lodge, Lindroth added, came from Vaughn Cochran, the artist and owner of Black Fly Outfitters, which sells world-famous merchandise bearing his logo.

Cochran is also a shareholder in the new lodge.

Kemp called Cochran’s involvement and the Black Fly name a “lifestyle statement” lending further credibility to the project.

He said no other lodge like this exists in The Bahamas. What makes the venture particularly unique, he felt, was the fact the lodge is located in a community.

“This is the only one that incorporates itself into the community,” he said.

“To have a fishing lodge in a community where they can interact with people is important. It means a higher, more textured experience. As it becomes a living town, our guests will want to be a part of that.”