The Abaco Club on Winding Bay officially changed ownership on December 11. Southworth Development, and international developer of residential resort communities, purchased the property along with an association of Winding Bay homeowners. Marriott Vacation Worldwide Corporation was the previous owner.
To mark the event a press conference was held at the property the next day. The Prime Minister along with several government ministers and officials were in attendance and spoke. David Southworth, President and CEO of Southworth Development, also spoke at the ceremony along with Michael McCormick, spokesperson for the homeowners.
Southworth Development is preparing to inject several hundred million dollars into renovating the property that had stagnated under previous ownership.
Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Perry Christie, congratulated everyone involved with the sale. He said the sale marks a new era for Abaco, remarking, “I want all Bahamians, especially Abaconians, to know that Abaco is on the move again.”
The PM said, “The acquisition of this property by Southworth, and projects such as Baker’s Bay, signify a significant boost for the economy of Abaco.”
He admonished Abaconians to recognize and appreciate the importance of such developments but also reminded Mr. Southworth and the developers that such projects could not work unless they had the buy-in of the locals. Mr. Christie especially noted the importance of respecting the nearby settlement of Cherokee.
Mr. Christie touched on details regarding Southworth Development’s plans for the Club.
“With more than 150 homes left to be built at the Abaco Club, the company plans additional investments in commercial real estate development valued at $348 million dollars over the next five to seven years.”
Mr. Christie said plans include a new club house, a beach front restaurant and a pool complex.
Also of note was Mr. Christie’s focus on new airlift into Abaco that would be spurred by the rejuvenation of this property among others. He said in anticipation of this the airport runway at Marsh Harbour will be lengthened. Mr. Christie joked with audience, asking them why they didn’t clap after that reveal.
Mr. Southworth also addressed the audience. “The Abaco Club has everything money can’t buy. It’s a gorgeous setting, with a well-thought-out master plan and a passionate membership. It’s the perfect complement to our existing properties and we look forward to taking this world-class facility to an even higher level.”
Mr. Southworth is in the process of getting his Bahamian citizenship.
Despite technically being “laid off” the previous evening due to the technicalities of the sale, all the staff were not only at the function but were all-smiles. When speaking to one server, she remarked that everyone was so high-energy because they were simply excited and felt this was a good thing and a positive development.
After the press conference all the guests were treated to a buffet, drinks and the music of Sax Man Rashad Reckley.
The club sits on 453 acres and features an 18-hole golf course, the world’s first Scottish-style links in a tropical location, designed by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie. Clubhouse amenities include the sportsman’s bar, locker rooms, comfortable lounges and screened porches. The golf course was recently named the best in the region by an international golf magazine.