Serenity Point’s project manager, Gustaf Hernqvist, was recently interviewed by the Nassau Guardian regarding increased activity at Serenity Point and on Abaco. Price reductions of up to 37%, new architectural designs by Cooper Johnson Smith, as well as increased development at neighbouring Schooner Bay Village are all cited as factors contributing to Serenity Point’s recent home site sales and additional reservations:
An upscale Abaco real estate development is targeting a $75-$100 million total value when its 46 home sites are fully built out, telling Tribune Business yesterday that the project expects to kick into high gear in the New Year after completing its first sales last month.
Gustaf Hernqvist, Serenity Point’s project manager, said increased construction activity at the adjacent Schooner Bay development in south Abaco was helping to create a critical mass that encouraged potential buyers both projects were for real.
Telling Tribune Business that construction on Serenity Point’s clubhouse was set to begin imminently, and that the first homeowner was anticipated to start building within the next six months, Mr Hernqvist said that reducing the project’s real estate prices by up to 35 per cent – in response to market conditions – had also helped to stimulate buyer interest.
“We’ve found Schooner Bay has switched into a new gear, completing the harbour,” Mr Hernqvist explained. “Over the last four-five months the pace has been incredible, with all the construction. The construction of the hotel is underway, a restaurant is coming soon, and a harbourmaster’s office is open.
“These are all considerations for owners at Serenity Point; to be able to get into a golf cart and go to places next door. The difference between us and Schooner Bay is that we’re a gated community.”
Access to Schooner Bay’s amenities and facilities is a key selling point for Serenity Point, which is being created as a boutique, upmarket real estate development featuring its own clubhouse, affinity pool, tennis courts and 24-hour security.
To make Serenity Point even more attractive and stimulate buyer activity, Mr Hernqvist said the developers had cut their lot prices by up to 35-37 per cent, dropping a beachfront location from an initial $850,000 to $535,000. Beachfront, and hillside sites, start at $300,000 for a half-acre lot.
“Since all these activities at Schooner Bay have been taking off, we’ve had a lot of inquiries,” Mr Hernqvist told Tribune Business. “As of last month, we sold two beachfront lots. Another beachfront lot was reserved, and two ridge lots have been reserved with deposits.
Jennifer Hudson’s article in the December 15th issue of the Abaconian features Serenity Point’s builder’s program and notes that 90% of the infrastructure is already in place.
The high-end development of Serenity Point will offer its residents world-class facilities and, with the Builder’s Programme, homeowners have the option to either use their own architectural service and builder or engage the services of the pre-certified partners such as Chancey Design Partnership or Ryan Archer, a local partner on Abaco.
Mr. Walton Chancey, architect and managing partner of Chancey Designs, and his interior designer wife explained, “We promote a more contemporary design for how we live today. People are buying the view so we believe that the homes should be open with lots of glass tying the outdoors with the indoors … When second homeowners are in the market for a new home, they need the assurance that someone responsible is overseeing their entire project. We can provide that for them.”
The Serenity Point builder’s program package is available to parties interested in building a home at Serenity Point and features a variety of home options depending on the location within the community.
Revised Airport Terminal Plans
Revised airport terminal plans were presented to stakeholders, with a bigger and more expensive terminal than the initial plans. The new airport will be 39,000 square feet, with the terminal accounting for about 32,000 square feet – 10 times the size of the current terminal. It will cost $15 million, an increase of $3 million from the initial plans. The new plans also include 2 restaurants, 4 kiosks, 4 car rental booths, 7 retail areas, and a VIP lounge next to the check-in area. Construction on the terminal starts at the beginning of 2011.
Abaco’s Growth Was Featured at “Business Outlook”
The 7th annual Abaco Business Outlook was held on September 22 on the topic Strengthening Abaco’s Economy. Presenters came from government and the private sectors and all were positive about Abaco’s growth.
Plans were revealed for a $12 million shopping mall that will be built near Central Pines in Dundas Town. Construction on the mall will start mid 2011.
According to Abaco’s Tourism Minister, Abaco Tourism is working to reduce airfare to Abaco from the United States. He also noted that visitors to Abaco were up 12 percent from the previous year.
The Tourism Minister announced that Tourism is employing branding strategy that is designed to set apart each Out Island as its own destination.
Robin Hood’s $30- $40m growth plan
Robin Hood, the popular discount supermarket, has revealed that their expansion plan includes investing a further $30-$40 million over the next four years to expand the retailer’s total Bahamian store portfolio from the current two to six. Sandy Schaefer, in an interview with Tribune Business said, “We’re looking for another four to five acres to build our own shopping center, probably somewhere in the south … Our logical next step will be Abaco.”
Family Islands Transport Enhancement Project launched
The Bahamas Government in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) officially launched the Family Islands Transport Enhancement Project during the opening ceremony for a workshop for stakeholders on October 14. Part of the project includes a technical assistance grant of $37,000 from CDB to facilitate preparation of feasibility studies and designs for new commercial ports in Abaco and a road link between Little and Great Abaco.
Progress continues at Schooner Bay
Phase One of Schooner Bay is well underway. In particular, the excavation of two large basins is complete. One will be used to provide the community fresh water and the other will be used as a composting heap for The Commons (Schooner Bay’s agricultural sector) and residential landscaping. Other developments include the harbor opening to the ocean in Winter 2011, and a local artist, Antonius Roberts is working to develop an art center. He is hoping to create an interest in art and maybe even encourage art tourism in Abaco.
Broad Creek Restoration Project Friends of the Environment partnered with Dr. Craig Layman and his research team from Florida International University to restore a vital tidal creek and wetland area near Serenity Point. A total of 510 students and adults assisted in reclaiming approximately 28 acres of wetlands that had been fragmented by the road.
This project would not have been possible without the generosity of Ministry of Works, Big Cat, Adele and Timmy McDonald, The Nature Conservancy, Schooner Bay, and Serenity Point. The participation of FIU was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Overall, excellent, positive news about Abaco’s growth.
Bonefishing in Abaco is a favorable pastime for locals and visitors alike. So much so, that several bonefish guides from the islands of Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence have initiated a proposal to start a Bahamian Flyfishing Federation (BFF) to promote the conservation of bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations as well as the habitats on which they depend.
The Bahamas, Abaco in particular, is the best fly-fishing destination in the world. If you haven’t tried it, this angling experience is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding. Many claim that once you start, you’ll never stop.
As part of his father’s special 60th birthday celebration, “Hook Shots” host Joe Cermele took his dad on a bonefishing trip in the Bahamas.
What else could commemorate such a milestone birthday better than tuna, dolphin, bonefish and lots of island rum? Their videos on Field & Stream show what a great time that had.
Mike Mazur from Fly Fishing in Saltwaters also enjoyed the outstanding bonefishing here.
Jack Pittard, master bonefisherman, also enjoyed catching the big bonefish in Abaco.
For those of you in the area, the Abaco Bonefish Roundup is being held October 17th-23rd. Anglers will have the opportunity to catch and tag bonefish alongside Bonefish and Tarpon Trust scientist, who are conducting a first of its kind tagging program on Abaco. The goal is to have guides and anglers catch, measure, weigh and tag hundreds of bonefish.
As these fish are re-caught in the future, guides and anglers can enter the size and location changes into a database so we will begin to learn more about the bonefish. There will also be dozens of fish implanted with sonic tags so scientists can better understand bonefish movement in relation to their spawning habits. For more information, visit affga.com.
Summer in Abaco is full of festivities. Are you ready for fun in the sun?
4th Annual North Abaco Summer Festival & Power Boat Race
Cheer on the fastest boats on the sea! Contestants travel from throughout the Bahamas to vie for top spot and bragging rights. This 3-day event at Regatta Village, Treasure Cay, includes local music, foods and games.
Contact Clifton Bootle, phone 242-475-3275.
Junkanoo Summer Festival
The Junkanoo Summer Festival is four weeks of festivities—starting in June and continuing into August. Join the party on August 27, Goombay Park, Marsh Harbour, from 6 pm to midnight. In addition to great bands, the celebration includes Bahamian food, local arts and crafts, cultural activities, games and giveaways.
Contact the Tourist Office for details, 367-3067.
The Junkanoo Summer Festival is four weeks of festivities—starting in June and continuing into August. If you missed the most recent party on July 9, mark your calendar for August 27, Goombay Park, Marsh Harbour, from 6 pm to midnight.
In addition to great bands, the celebration includes Bahamian food, local arts and crafts, cultural activities, games and giveaways.
Recent performances included:
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marching and Pop Bands
New Entry Band
Matellus and Fontella Chipman
T-Time Rake and Scrap
Lucious Dame (Fire Dance)
In addition to the great bands listed above, watch for the Abaco Talent Search and Junkanoo parade. Contact the Tourist Office for more details, 367-3067.
Ask a Local is a series in our blog that looks at life in Abaco. Today’s local is Bryan Le Mar, guitarist, producer and songwriter.
Throughout his career as a session guitarist, songwriter and producer, Bryan Le Mar has worked with numerous talents and directed many projects. He current lives between Abaco and Miami, and we managed to catch up with him for a quick interview.
Serenity Point: Bryan, tell us a little about what attracted you to Abaco.
Bryan: I think that the idea of owning a getaway home on a beautiful island is a wonderful dream to pursue, and I had been wanting to do it for years.
I visited a few of the islands in the Bahamas and found that they each have different characteristics, but when I came to Abaco, I saw that it had everything all in one place.
Not only is Abaco full of natural beauty, the island is easily accessible and has all the needed services including food, medical and transportation. Plus, it’s a haven for live music.
Serenity Point: We know that you’re busy in Miami with Merlin Studio. How much time do you get to spend on Abaco?
Bryan: My first time on Abaco was three years ago, I knew right away that this was where I wanted to be.
I split my time half and half. I do a lot of back and forth between Abaco and Miami. It’s really quite simple to jump a plane from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. The flight is less then an hour.
Serenity Point: What’s your preference, when is the best time to be in Abaco?
Bryan: Most would say September to June, but I have a mad passion for diving so I quite enjoy the ocean in July and August when the water is 85 degrees, and the afternoons are graced with soft showers and rainbows.
Serenity Point: Sounds idyllic! Any favorite destinations or road trips that you enjoy?
Bryan: There’s a lot of things to see and do around Abaco. I love driving to different spots on the island and exploring new things: beaches, blue holes, neighborhoods and the like.
I have no shortage of things to do. Plus, there’s a great ferry system that can take you to and from the nearby cays, which is always an adventure.
Sometimes I just enjoy spending time in the garden at the house, or swinging in a hammock.
But cooking sunset dinners for friends after a day of fishing, diving and beaching is always a pleasure.
Serenity Point: Local food is always a treat. Do you have any favorite restaurants or pubs on the island?
Bryan: That would be a long list. Closest to my home is Pete’s Pub, the quintessential island restaurant bar. It’s like Robinson Crusoe, and it’s solar powered! They actually have a bronze foundry where they do sculptures of sea life, with a gallery of original art and souvenirs . The food is great, with fish caught on their own boat, and it’s really beautiful there in Little Harbour.
Serenity Point: As a guitarist and songwriter, what do you think of the local bands? Is it easy to find live music?
Bryan: Live music is like a heartbeat in Abaco. There’s so many places that support the art. Curly Tails always has live music, and so does Snappas, but the list goes on … there’s Abaco Beach Resort, Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Abaco Inn, Sea Spray, Nippers, Grabbers, Pete’s Pub, Cracker P’s, and Pineapples. As for local bands, I always enjoy “Jim Fire and the Goat Peppers” every Saturday at Snappas Bar in Marsh Harbour.
Serenity Point: With no-shortage of great places to visit on Abaco, where do you like to take visiting friends and family?
Bryan: We go everywhere! It’s a non-stop tour with so many places that they always have to come back.
Serenity Point: Speaking of coming back, more people are choosing Abaco for their getaway home. What do you think of some of the new developments?
Bryan: Of course, I know of your development and what’s happening at Schooner Bay. I see that as the beginning of a new center for well-planned growth. I think it’s a great addition to the communities of Abaco.
The area of Schooner Bay and Serenity Point, is absolutely gorgeous. I often visit those beautiful beaches.
Thank you kindly to Bryan Le Mar for participating in Ask a Local.
The World Billfish Series has a number of upcoming events, including
BBC Boat Harbour, June 9-12 @ Boat Harbour
Abaco Cay Billfish Tournament, June 13-18 @ Boat Harbour
Since healthy oceans support the billfish we so enjoy, we’re pleased that part proceeds from the opening of the Disneynature film Oceans (April 22-28) were directed to The Nature Conservancy Bahamas Program to assist with coral reef protection through the expansion and management of new marine parks in The Bahamas. The Disneynature/TNC partnership has already resulted in $350,000 towards the Bahamas Protected Area Fund.
The Disneynature film is one example of how environmental stewardship is promoted to adults and children. In Abaco, that stewardship is seen on many levels.
On Wednesday May 12th, members of the Discovery Club were awarded their Weather Badge as well as their Endangered Species Badge.
Discovery Club picks up again in September, but over the summer Friends of the Environment are hosting environmental summer camp in north, central and south Abaco. Camp dates run from July 13 to July 23. For more information please call 367-2721 or email email@example.com.
Environmental stewardship is not only for children. Research biologists from the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation (BMMRO) have been conducting a long-term study tracking marine mammals around the Bahamas since 1991.
Currently based in Sandy Point, Abaco, this project provides the only comprehensive data on marine mammals in this part of the world. This year BMMRO will be hosting a 5-day Whale Expedition for adults from July 25-30. Participants will have the opportunity to work alongside marine mammal biologists and learn firsthand about species identification, research methods and results, and conservation issues.
There will be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 participants. The cost will depend on the number of participants but will range from $110-160/day per person, which covers everything except travel to Sandy Point, dinner at a local restaurant 1 night (approx $20) and any alcoholic beverages. For more information please contact Diane Claridge at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you know of any other environmental programs or events in Abaco, please add them to the comments field below.
Local guides are busy this season hosting anglers from around the world who are participating in bonefish, billfish and lionfish tournaments.
April 9-11, during the Redbone Baker’s Bay Marsh Harbour Bonefish Classic,
12 local guides and 24 anglers enjoyed success while fishing for bonefish from Sandy Point in the south, near Serenity Point, to Cooper’s Town in the north.
The Abaconian quotes the winning angler, Rod Jack, as saying “I’ve been to Andros, Key West, Turks and Caicos, Islamorada and more. This is it; [Abaco] has great fishing and professional guides.”
Mr. Jack and his teammate, Butch Armstrong, live in Knoxville, Tennessee, and were guided by Paul Pinder of Sandy Point and Justin Sands of Marsh Harbour, two excellent guides in our neighbourhood.
June 9-12 marks the return of The Bahamas Billfish Championship to Abaco. Leg four, the Boat Harbour Championship, is hosted by Allied Marine and Bertram Yacht and is followed by the Treasure Cay Championship on June 23 – 26.
June 16-19 brings to Abaco the Ravage the Savage event, a lionfish spearfish derby that invites the public to help combat the overpopulation of lionfish. A purse of $500 is offered by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
Ravage the Savage is the first leg of the Abaco, Bahamas Lionfish Battlefest week, which culminates with a lionfish derby held at Green Turtle Resort on June 19.
The lionfish spearfish derby is part of the 27th Annual Treasure Cay Billfish Tournament (TCBT), which offers four days of fishing and multiple awards for billfish, plus trophies for tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Cash payouts range from $10-50,000 for participation of 50 boats.
Now is the perfect time for fishing in Abaco. Come for a tournament!
Situated at water’s edge on Schooner Bay Beach, home owners on Beachfront Lots 1 to 7 will enjoy a view that is unique to a fortunate few.
Key Aspects of the Beachfront Lots
Lot sizes range from 21,041 to 47,391 square feet.
Beach frontage per lot ranges from 90 to 112 feet.
Residents have direct access to a 200-300 foot wide, 5 mile long beach.
Schooner Bay harbour village is a 5-minute stroll away.
A stroll to the north brings you to Serenity Point’s full-service Beach Club, then to miles of pristine, untouched beach.
The beach at Serenity Point remains relatively untouched by development, and its beauty and sand quality rival the best known beaches of the islands. The dunes, beachfront and associated vegetation are not only picturesque but form an ecosystem that is critical to the health of the shoreline and the nesting grounds of the island’s turtle population.
Serenity Point’s commitment to the sustainability of Schooner Bay Beach means that the community plan adheres to practices that will best protect the dune and waterline.
Lot owners may create a winding path to the beach.
Existing vegetation may be minimally trimmed to establish and maintain views.
Owners also benefit from the well-planned nature of this community. Each lot has a proposed driveway location, front and side setback, 2nd story building zone and beach setback.
Serenity Point’s pre-approved architectural and building professionals are available to create custom home designs. Or home site owners may select from pre-approved home plans in Serenity Point’s Builder’s Program.