Ground was broken in February on Baha Mar, a 1,000-acre resort-casino at the city of Nassau on New Providence Island. When completed in 2014, it will encompass 3,500 rooms in six hotels and a number of condominium buildings. Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and Morgan hotels will be built simultaneously, along with restaurants and spas. Construction of a water park and golf course will begin in late 2012. Designed by RMJM and Michael Hong Architects, the complex also includes a 100,000-sq-ft casino and 200,000-sq-ft convention space. The estimated cost is $3.4 billion.

Baha Mar resort-casino
Rendering courtesy of China Construction America Inc.
The Baha Mar resort-casino will be one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by a Chinese contractor in North America.

The project, developed by Baha Mar Ltd., has encountered setbacks. Harrah’s, an early partner, withdrew in 2008 as a result of the worldwide recession. In 2009, China State Construction Engineering Corp. agreed to buy a small stake in the resort. China State then hired its subsidiary, China Construction America Inc. (CCA), to serve as the general contractor and construction manager. China State was granted a larger amount of work after introducing Baha Mar Ltd. to the Export-Import Bank of China, which became the project’s chief financier.

China State has requested permits for 8,150 foreign workers, presumably mostly Chinese, constituting 71% of the total workforce of 11,500. Overall, Bahamian firms will perform $400 million worth of work on the resort, including the convention center, which is worth between $60 million and $80 million. According to CCA, there will be 800 workers on-site by May or June, and the workforce will peak at 5,000 during late 2012 or early 2013.

The Chinese laborers likely will represent the largest Chinese workforce ever assembled for a project in North America.