Blue Mall’s developers and Port Services collaborating on Dutch Village

POSTED: 01/20/12 1:22 PM
An artist rendering of the Dutch Harbour that the developers of the Blue Mall and St. Maarten Port Services N.V. are planning to build at the Dr. A.C. Cruise Pier. (Website photo)

St. Maarten / By Donellis Browne – The developers of the Blue Mall and St. Maarten Port Services N.V. are the two listed partners in the development of the Dutch Village that will be placed at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise Pier. This is revealed by a website promoting the project that is linked to Zebec Development N.V., which states that the company has signed a contract to “design, build and operate the Dutch Harbour in the Port of St. Maarten.”

The idea for constructing a Dutch Village was first announced by Chief Executive Officer of the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies Mark Mingo during the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) on January 12. That led Democratic Party Member of Parliament Petrus Leroy de Weever to ask the Shareholder Representative for the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies Thedore Heyliger about it during a meeting of Parliament on January 16. Heyliger’s answer in the first round matched the information provided by Mingo that the new attraction is being developed to meet a request from cruise ship visitors to see more of a link with the island’s Dutch heritage.
“The harbour surveys the cruise passengers on a quarterly basis and they have said they see the French heritage on the French side, but they don’t see the Dutch heritage here on the Dutch side. We have to look at the fact that many visitors still stay on board when the ships arrive and we want to be able to attract them to get off. What the harbour is doing is not something new because ports around the world are developing on site attractions. One example is Port Zante in Haiti. Much like them we need to evolve and be the best destination that we can be,” Heyliger said Thursday.

The actual information on who was developing the project did not come until the second round when National Alliance leader William Marlin asked for specific information on who was developing “ the complete new set of shops.” De Weever had also posed that question in the first round but he never got an answer. In reply to Marlin’s question Heyliger said that the new attraction is being developed as a partnership between Zebec N.V. and the harbor. He also confirmed that there would be stores involved and the harbor’s role in the partnership would be to share in revenue.

According to Zebec’s order valium from china website – http://98.130.48.92/ – the project will be the “newest and most exciting development in St. Maarten’s cruise industry.” It will be constructed on 14,000 square meters and include cobble stone streets, water gates and bridges and an authentic windmill. There will also be a fashion outlet with four stores, a trade house with five shops, an arts and crafts and building with ground floor shopping, a first floor restaurant and a bar and lounge on the second floor, a chapel and an ocean side restaurant.
Potential tenants can already apply for either general service spaces or market stalls in the new development. The site states that the prospective tenants will be determined based on the applicability to the overall tenant mix. It also provides a link to a form people can use to express their interests in having a space at the development.

Internal Opposition
De Weever, whose Democratic Party is part of the coalition, is worried about the additional competition this new development will deliver for the shops in Philipsburg.
“I have seen, systematically, Philipsburg put on the backburner. We have spent millions and millions of dollars, by this same institution – this same government body, which is the harbour. We continue to put a tremendous amount of strain on the main downtown area. We started out by Maho allowing them to build a whole bunch of retail shops. The subsequently we go to Blue Lagoon and to the Lowlands and we allow development of retails sectors. What is just incredible is that the only source of passengers, we’re now taking them and bussing them to remote areas – again putting additional strain on the downtown area,” de Weever said.

Later he’d add, “We must keep in mind that the further expansion of an additional 18 or 20 retail shops only puts more pressure on the downtown – both Front Street and Back Street – facilities that now exist. For the first time in many, many years if we look through Front Street we have several retail shops and there’s going to be a continuous adjustment of the real estate property in Front Street because of the pressures that are being put on these remote areas that government allowed to continuously be developing. We can cay that we are a government of free enterprise, but free enterprise has to be guided by government’s policies and not to continue to allow one or two businesses to survive for four of five years and then within the fifth or sixth year they have to unfold.”

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