Since May 2018, Disney has been in negotiations with the Bahamas to purchase a portion of an island known as Eleuthera. In August, it looked like the deal had fallen through thanks to some concerned citizens who said that the island couldn’t sustain such a massive influx of people. Then in October, Disney got the go ahead.
Land Purchase Complete
Now, the land purchase has been completed as confirmed by the Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis who said that Disney Cruise Line coming to the island will create a sustainable future for the people and the island’s economy.
This purchase was a tricky one because there were so many people on the island who were against the partnership. However, Disney was able to appease them by making some promises.
First, before construction can begin, the Bahamian government will complete and approve an Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Plan.
Disney also had to assure the government that they would support current business owners and allow Bahamian vendors to sell their wares and services and that they would employ as many locals as possible. Disney agreed saying that they will pull 120 laborers with as many as 80% of them being locals during the construction phase and once complete, 150 permanent jobs with health benefits. They will also provide training for would-be entrepreneurs.
Even those who don’t work for the cruise line will benefit. Disney promises that they will donate money to local schools, medical facilities, and cultural sites. Speaking of cultural sites, Disney will donate 190 acres of the 700 purchased of land on the southernmost tip of the island to the government who will make it a national park. This alone is valued at $6.29 million.
Finally, residents of Eleuthera will have access to the amenities, which means it’s not a completely private island like Castaway Cay, and Bahamian owners will get priority for port adventures when ships are in port.
The first thing Disney has to do to move forward is to work with the government to complete that Environmental Impact Assessment and create a plan to manage and sustain the natural beauty of the island.
Next, they will invest between $250 and $400 million in the area to create everything they need for DCL guests including restaurants, bathrooms, rental sites, souvenir stores, and entertainment structures.
The project is expected to be completed sometime between 2021 and 2023, which is good timing because Disney Cruise Line will introduce three new ships to their existing four by 2023.
Disney purchasing Eleuthera: a good deal or giving away too much?