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$800 million Abaco project attracts Setai hotel brand

The developers of the $800 million Kakona project in South Abaco have partnered with the Setai brand to build a boutique hotel on land owned by the Harrell family trust, advisor to the trust Thomas Boynton revealed Wednesday evening during a townhall meeting on Abaco.

Boynton said the developers did not want to bring just any hotel brand to the South Abaco development. He explained that what the Setai brand will bring to the project with be akin to the Amanyara development, built by the Setai owners in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Setai has become famous as a luxury brand on South Beach. Properties also exist in Israel.

According to Boynton, the developers, the Harrell family trust, scrapped their original plans for the 370-acre property – which has been 16 years in development – for a minimalist approach to building out the property.

“This has been a 16-year passion. This is our sixteenth year here,” said Boynton.

“We’ve invested quite a bit of money so far, even though a shovel hasn’t hit the ground here yet.

“I want everyone to know that we own our land, we’ve owned it for many, many years.

“Our original plan was not the right plan. They were absolutely the wrong plan. So we threw them away. We threw them away because the hotels were too big, they were too dense, it would not have represented Abaco the way it should.

He added: “We didn’t just go out and get a hotel. You can go get a hotel. It had to be the right hotel. So we went out and got Setai.”

Boynton said the development’s density will be about 15 percent of the entire property and will include in phase one, 60 units with a Setai boutique hotel; a residence club with 25 cottages and 30 core units; 150 private estate lots; ten beach villas and ten golf court units; 15 over-the-water units and harbor-front homes.

He said the developers have also agreed to develop the Sandypoint Airport by extending the runway to 6,500 feet and building a fixed-base operator (FBO) with both a private and public side, that will have all of the updated infrastructure of an “airport of that caliber”.

Member of Parliament for Central and South Abaco John Pinder, who also spoke at the townhall meeting, said he wants to see this development come to fruition sooner than later. Pinder said he hopes to see the development begin to come out of the ground this year, contending that South Abaco and Abaconians in general are in desperate need of a project like this.

He said the developers have agreed to provide skills training for Abaconians who work on the project.

“As the development grows, the skills of our Abaconians will be able to grow with it,” said Pinder.

“We want Abaconians to have the skills to grow with the project, so they are given the jobs that are most lucrative in the long run.”