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Graycliff eyes $20m 'Heritage Village'

Business Reporter |

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The opening of its $2 million travellers' lounge in the new US departures terminal at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) is just the start of a slew of expansion activities for Graycliff, as the company now sets it sights on six new US airport locations and a $20 million 'Graycliff Heritage Village' in Nassau.

The 5,600 square foot Graycliff Boutique and Divan opened to the travelling public for the first time last week, when the new US Departures Terminal at LPIA, in which it is located, became available to those flying from the Bahamas to the US.

It replaces and expands the Graycliff Boutique and Divan that had been operating in the former US Departures terminal, and which has now been shut down as that terminal undergoes major renovation and construction before being re-opened as the new domestic and international arrivals terminal.

According to Graycliff spokesperson, Roberta Garzaroli, the lounge and boutique "complement" Graycliff's existing cigar, coffee and chocolate product lines.

With both indoor and outdoor lounge areas, and smoking and non-smoking sections, the lounge provides to all travelers for a small fee - which includes access to WiFi Internet and a drink - the kind of environment that is typically only available to premium travellers, suggests the company.

The opening of the lounge follows the 2009 launch of two Graycliff lounges in Nashville International Airport, and more are in the pipeline.

"We're waiting to sign some contracts. I can't tell you where but I can tell you we looked at six different US locations," said Ms Garzaroli.

"The response to all of the lounges has been very positive so far.

"Everyone likes the fact that you don't have to be in an airline club, like the Admiral club or a Delta member, to access it. Anyone can come in by paying the fee."

Closer to home, work on Mountbatten House and the former Sisters of Charity Convent building, which were purchased by the company behind the Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant in 2009, is set to begin shortly.

Having purchased the properties for "a few million dollars", Graycliff plans to turn the historic West Hill Street properties, located opposite the Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant, into a "heritage village" where visitors can participate in chocolate making, plus coffee roasting and tasting sessions.

Outside, West Hill Street will become a cobbled, pedestrianised zone

"We expect we will get the building permits for that this week," said Ms Garzaroli, adding that the goal is for the project to be launched in "18 months to two years".

"We have a Graycliff chocolate line and coffee line at the moment, and the idea is that we will begin to make those on property, bringing in the coffee beans and the raw cocoa beans and processing them here.

"There'll be a kind of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' type experience," she said.

The project will also create a space for Bahamian artisans, with rooms inside the former convent to be renovated and rented to artists and craftspeople to making "authentic" Bahamian art works.

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