Less than a week after the Prime Minister gave the green light for construction in New Providence to re-start with COVID-19 safety measures in place, the $250 million Sterling Hurricane Hole project on Paradise Island was alive with the sound of heavy equipment and workers adding masks and social distancing to their usual uniforms, hard hats and routines. “I’m happy to be back doing what I love,” said Winston Bullard, a 15-year veteran, carpenter, equipment operator and the man his manager turns to when he needs that extra hand on the ground. “I stayed home for a while and did a lot of projects but I was glad when I got that phone call ‘cuz I was runnin’ out of projects and couldn’t wait to get back.”
Bullard’s sentiments were echoed by others, some grateful for an income after nearly seven weeks without work following the economic shutdown designed to curb the spread of the highly contagious disease for which there is no vaccine. “There’s a lot of happy faces around here,” said Star Construction Manager Greg van der riet, though he admitted it was far from the full crew of workmen who had been on the job prior to COVID. At the height of activity, more than 100 workers were on site for Phase 1 of the project, Sterling Commons. This week, that number ranged between 40 and 75. “The men are shaking off the lockdown but they are also taking their time because they want to be cautious. For us, the main thing now is sanitation. We have new rules and measures in place, everyone must have a mask, remain at least six feet from other workers. We have installed more hot water washing stations and we have a sanitation crew on duty all day.” Where Van der riet used to inspect job progress, now he is checking for safety measure adherence several times a day.
“We’re about 95% done on the exterior of the west building and nearly ready for the façade,” he said. The easternmost structure is 70% completed. Together, the twin structures with retail and dining on the first level, professional office space on the second and luxury residential on the third will overlook the iconic Hurricane Hole Marina that is also undergoing a multimillion-dollar transformation. When completed, the marina with a host of amenities is expected to set the gold standard for superyachts in the region. “We are extremely grateful to the Prime Minister and those in government who paved the way for construction to re-start, understanding its importance to individuals in the industry and to the overall economic health of the country,” said David Kosoy, Sterling Chairman. “We will do everything we can to maintain the new safety standards just as we were committed to industrial safety on all of our projects prior to COVID-19.” Among Sterling’s projects in The Bahamas are THIRTY SIX on Paradise Island, Beach House Villas on Paradise Island, Ocean Terraces on West Bay Street, Matt Lowe’s Cay in Abaco and Sky Beach Resort in Eleuthera.