This is a reprint of an article in The Nassau Guardian published: Dec. 19, 2012
Schooner Drives $100M in expenditure
Abaco town to comprise 50 homes by end of 2013 and a host of businesses, including Blackfly Lodge, Blue Rooster, Harbour General Store and Cabana Beach Club.
Guardian Business Editor
Published: Dec. 19, 2012
Schooner Bay will have up to 50 homes completed by the end of next year, according to its chief developer.
Orjan Lindroth, head of the Lindroth Development Company Limited, estimated that the Abaco development has generated more than $100 million in direct expenditure over the last few years, taking into account the land, servicing, construction, sales, stamp duty and property tax.
While 120 Bahamians now work at Schooner, the community is just getting started. Lindroth said 2013 will involve 30 core infrastructure projects, marking a true coming of age for the town.
“Conventional developments are often subsidized by government,” he explained. “We build places that stand on their own feet and grow on their own, by interacting with the local community.”
Schooner, considered an “incubator” for small business, has secured investors for a host of projects in 2013.
The Blackfly Lodge is perhaps the most recognizable and high-profile opening early in the new year. This internationally recognized brand will open its doors in 2013, offering bone fishing excursions with full hotel and restaurant services.
Other businesses breaking ground next year run the gambit of goods and services. Albert’s Conch Shack, an organic farm operation, Harbour General Store, Cabana Beach Club, a police sub-station, an all-age school, a medical clinic, laundry facilities and a health and wellness pavilion should provide Schooner with many of the staples that make up a community.
Blue Rooster, a popular retail shop on Harbour Island off Eleuthera, has reportedly committed to another shop at Schooner Bay in 2013.
In January, the Schooner Air Club will begin offering regular air service between the capital and Sandy Point, with flights leaving on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for just $200 per round trip. The community’s harbor is already open for business.
A number of other facilities are hoping to attract a diverse crop of visitors. For example, the Schooner Bay Institute, comprising 10 bedrooms, has been earmarked for visiting academics. Invited guests will stay free of charge, apart from food, to inspire research and community.
“We want to create things that will build the place. If they can come here and live here, we can attract other interesting people as well,” Lindroth told Guardian Business.
George Mason University in the U.S. is already scheduled to stay at the institution next year.
Meanwhile, designs are underway for a “meeting house” for those arriving on corporate retreats, capable of seating up to 150 people.
In addition to the 60 houses, Schooner should have no shortage of general accommodation. The Harbour Bed & Breakfast, for example, is being spearheaded by Schooner resident Dr. Larry Carroll. An entirely separate hotel, featuring two or three-bedroom bungalows on the beach, will be built by the main developer.
Schooner’s permanent residents are equally diverse.
While the development features large, multimillion-dollar houses, loft-style homes with a view of the harbor are going for just $200,000. All four of these compact dwellings are sold, although eight more will be built next year.
What it adds up to is a buzz of activity that’s rapidly approaching critical mass. Lindroth reports that 75 percent of the investors are actually Bahamian, a number of whom are well-known physicians. With a focus on green living, Schooner’s ongoing mantra is not just sustainability. Lindroth wants the community to be a unique reflection of modern, Bahamian living.
“In The Bahamas we should create places for Bahamians first, and invite foreigners second,” he explained.