While store owners in the International Bazaar struggle to keep their head above water, there have been some prospects in to look at the property which is up for sale.
“We have had a few potential clients come to look at the International Bazaar,” Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville told The Freeport News.
“I’ve not really gotten any direct solid feed on it yet. “
Back in January, Bazaar Association President Chris Paine confirmed the property was being put up for sale, but would remain open as usual.
There are about 85 potential retail stores.
The once thriving mecca, which sits adjacent to the hotel property has struggled to stay afloat as a result of the closure of the Royal Oasis Resort in 2004.
However, Harcourt Development Group purchased the resort property in 2007 for the purpose of transforming it into a high-quality tourist destination, but that has yet to be realized.
The reopening of the resort was anticipated to bring major benefits to the local area through increased tourism and local employment.
Some 25 operators remain at the bazaar property and are concerned with the run-down, desolate appearance and lack of traffic in the area and have been crying out for some resolve.
“We anticipate a meeting probably early next month with Harcourt to get an update on what their intention is,” Darville said.
“(We’re going) to try to make sure that that meeting is a joint meeting between the Ministry of Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the Harcourt Group.”
The minister for Grand Bahama said that government is concerned about the property and the fact that it is in disrepair.
He noted that as government is making ready to begin its new program with Sunwing Travel, the world’s largest tour and travel company, for the opening of the Reef resort later this year, cleaning up certain areas of the city is a necessity.
“We want to ensure that the community and the city has a facelift because as we bring these tourists in at all inclusive resorts we want the city to be look ing a bit more rejuvenated,” he said, adding that for the time being everything remains the same.
The Sunwing project includes an all-inclusive 460-suite resort with new flights out of Canada.
“So in September we will have a few meetings concerning that property. But as far as any eminent sale, no I’m unaware of it. As far as anything new, I’m unaware of it. As far as the small businesses in the area, they continue to struggle and for good reason.”
Dr. Darville insists money needs to be pumped into the bazaar property and that it is obvious that something needs to be done soon.
“We, as a whole community, need to find the way forward for that property. We’re very concerned for it and we’re going to do a little bit more cleaning up as we prepare ourselves for this capitalist tourism product that is on the way with Sunwing,” he said.
“We’re going to have a substantial amount of airlift, we’re working out the logistics at the airport, we are planning and working out the construction at the site to ensure that we open on a timely fashion and also preparing ourselves when we launch the national training agency, probably late this month early next month to begin to get our employees ready for a five-star facility.”
Prior frequent Freeport visitior posted on: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:02 PM
The International Bazaar was once our favorite place to visit. Bustling with business, people and energy. After the last hurricane we visited and were saddened to see the place in such disrepair. Asked the front desk at our time share when they were planning on fixing up the Bazaar and was told that they were on Bahama time. Our Lucaya is about the only place worth visiting and once you've seen it, why go back? We have not been back to the Grand Bahama Island since the late 2000. Just not worth it anymore. Fix up the island to draw more tourists and we (and probably others) would consider coming back.
JD posted on: Sunday, May 04, 2014 12:49 AM
I made my first trip to Freeport in 1970 and spent a week at the Kings Inn across the street from the International Bazaar. It was a wonderful place to visit then with lots of activities within walking distance. I loved the shops and food in the Bazaar. The nearby Sir Winston Pub was an excellent place to spend a little time and "lift a mug." I have made almost a dozen cruises to the Bahamas since that time, and each time I go by the International Bazaar and spend some time walking around. It is painful to go there now, and there is no reason it cannot be the same once more. The cruise lines seem to be steering folks to other areas there. The Birmingham, Alabama airport this month started non-stop flights to Freeport, which takes less that two hours. I plan to take one over that way and stay nearby. I have some wonderful memories there...its time to start building some more.
Casillasr posted on: Friday, January 17, 2014 3:42 AM
Hello I have been visiting the Bahamas since 1997 and I remember how beautiful The International Bizarre was and how beautiful it will become again. The Freeport community should all get together and try to revive it, with a little paint, repair broken windows, just repair what You can, Take pride in Your Bizarre and Your government should also try to repair the Bizarre because without it just doesn't seem to be Freeport!! Back in the Day the International Bizarre was the place to visit. The street that was between the Princess Hotel and the Casino, should be reopened, that was one of Your major Mistakes to close it in the first place. Well anyway I will still visit the International Bizarre on my visits to Freeport, see You soon!!!
Crabman posted on: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 8:02 PM
Okay,this is what about the gazillionth time they have waved the "WE ARE SO CLOSE" flag, puhleeese. Why don't you roll out the Marriot hotel story again
DELORES WHITE posted on: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:30 AM
we hope you guys are planning to do flights out of Newport News Va( PHF) or Richmond Va (RIC) when Laker Airline did Flight and Hotel packages ,we did groups of 20 to40 pax, 2 to3 times a month ,now all the Flights are awful 10 to 20 +++ hours and next day arrival ,this crazy for what used to tack about 2 hours.The Cruise arrival are agood but a JOKE arrive 8am depart 3 pm you don't GO near The Bazaar,Ruby Swiss,Taino Beach to name some,These are of the this need or we hope get looked at ..please we hope you can HELP. THANKS