NASSAU, BAHAMAS- On Monday, the government signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) for a $25 million high-end, low-impact boutique resort on Sampson Cay in the Exuma chain. The project is fully funded and is being developed by Bob Coughlin, CEO of US-based human resources giant Paycor. Coughlin, who retired to the Exumas in 2019, is also the president and founder of Sampson Cay Retreat Limited.
The Sampson Cay Retreat will feature a main house for central dining and gathering, beach cottages with 22 rooms, staff housing for up to 15 persons, and will utilize less than 10 percent of the 121 acres purchased by the company. The remaining acreage will include walking and cycling trails, as well as fitness and wellness assets such as kayaking, yoga, snorkeling, and diving.
Prime Minister Philip Davis commented on the development, stating, “This new development will patronize local companies, generate tax revenue, and increase interest in the luxury market, raising our tourism product to even greater heights. This development is a valuable economic stimulus to Exuma, and I look forward to seeing it bear fruit over the next few years.”
According to Coughlin, the development’s initial plan is for a two-and-a-half to three-year build-out. “I think that sustainable features will be integrated into power, water generation, and land use, including what we grow. Other than coconut palms, we won’t be introducing too many external landscape features to the island. We’ll grow as much food on the island as we can,” said Coughlin. “Regarding materials and construction, we won’t be using big bulldozers. Instead, we’ll pinpoint where we need to build and use concrete.” The developer also plans to preserve local culture and host Bahamian artisans and specialists in traditional practices on the island to enhance the guest experience.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, who is also the Exuma and Ragged Island MP, expressed his support for the development and acknowledged its potential economic impact. He also highlighted the need for infrastructure investments in the Exumas, as the region has experienced significant growth in recent years and continues to attract foreign direct investment.
“While the Exumas have been attracting significant foreign direct investments, like many other family islands, we need investments in infrastructure,” said Cooper. “We do have some infrastructure concerns as the Exumas continue to grow at a rapid pace. On mainland Exuma, we are building a new world-class airport, and there has been ongoing investment in water, power, and communications. We have gone to RPF process for three airports in the Exuma cays – Staniel Cay, Black Point, and Farmer’s Cay. Ultimately, we hope that jets will be able to land in Black Point direct from New York or wherever.”
Cooper emphasized that the Davis administration is committed to investing in infrastructure and addressing the infrastructure challenges facing the Exumas.