St. Maarten Harbor invests in Down Street “Project is about our culture and heritage”

POSTED: 02/10/14 9:56 AM

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo signed a contractual agreement with Windward Roads Infrastructure Director Jan Hendricks last Friday for the construction of the Down Street Cruise Heritage Development.  Also present for the signing was Minister of Tourism Ted Richardson.

The approximately $2 million project entails the construction of a square with six cabanas to be used for a bar/restaurant, the selling of arts and crafts and other tourist related goods; toilet/bathroom facilities; lockers; parking for 5 taxi’s; parking for approximately 50 vehicles on the beachside; and one of the main features will be a water fountain.  The new square will also have 24-hour security and will be wheelchair accessible.

The square is strategically located next to the Walter Plantz Tender Jetty which connects to the boardwalk/beach promenade, Down Street and Front Street.  The project is expected to be completed in August 2014 well in time for the 2014/2015 cruise season.

The square will be fully equipped for local musicians, artists and bands with a ‘plug and play entertainment’ feature. Entertainment is an important part of heritage square which will also feature a stage, speakers and a generator.

The plans for the Down Street Cruise Heritage Development go back to 2008 when the Walter Plantz Tender Jetty materialized.  Studies carried out pointed to this being the best concept for the Down Street area.

CEO Mark Mingo says that the support services to be offered by the Down Street Cruise Heritage Development are necessary in order to drive business from cruise tourists and locals to this part of the Great Bay beach and Down Street area.

“This new development will enhance the tourist product in Philipsburg.  This will be a success for Down Street. It was a commitment made by the harbour and we are now living up to that by making this a reality.  I would like to thank Minister Hon. Ted Richardson as shareholder representative and the harbor supervisory board of directors for the role that they have played in this very important project.

“The harbour group of companies is not only about building bridges.  The group’s efforts are all around for everybody to see.  The positive impact of the various projects on our product has led to the continual growth in our cruise tourism.  The environment is very important to the harbour group as we operate under the premise of sustainable development.

“The harbour group which are all 100 per cent fully owned by government and by extension the people of this country, has replenished the nation’s beaches when that was required and continues to do so today.

“The focus of the Down Street project is about our culture and heritage.  Each cabana will be named after one of our beaches.  Cultural and heritage organizations will have the opportunity to showcase to our guests and locals what we are all about and I look forward to these groups making use of the opportunities that will be presented by having heritage square at the cross roads of Down Street.

“The tender jetty was named after Walter Plantz a former fisherman.  The harbour group is connecting back to the heritage of the country and being part of that awareness building,” CEO Mark Mingo said over the weekend.

Minister Ted Richardson thanked Windward Roads and the Harbour Group for partnering adding that the project once completed will have a positive economic impact for the island.

Minister Richardson added that that it will have a local flavor offering local vendors and small business operators an opportunity to start in this area of town; taxi drivers will also be accommodated and it will be a new area of business activity.

The Minister concluded by saying once heritage square is completed; it will be a bridge bringing locals and tourists to Down Street where everybody will be able to learn what Sint Maarten is all about.

The next step after the contract is the signing of lease agreements with the individuals or companies that will be renting the cabanas.

The Harbour Group of Companies is also interested in acquiring additional property in the area for parking etc.

The architecture renderings and drawings are being handled by DAM and Partners Caribbean.


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