New vista? The view from a proposed new hotel and casino, looking east along a redeveloped waterfront. Sir John Swan is behind plans for the site which would feature a new ferry terminal, a public park, a marina and a cruise ship pier jutting into the harbour. There would also be an open air market, shops and cafes. *Image courtesy of Lindberg & Simmons
New vista? The view from a proposed new hotel and casino, looking east along a redeveloped waterfront. Sir John Swan is behind plans for the site which would feature a new ferry terminal, a public park, a marina and a cruise ship pier jutting into the harbour. There would also be an open air market, shops and cafes. *Image courtesy of Lindberg & Simmons
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Ambitious new proposals to redevelop Hamilton’s waterfront have been unveiled by a group headed by property developer and former Premier Sir John Swan. The three-phase plan would see the demolition of the HSBC offices at Albuoy’s Point and the creation of a hotel and casino, as well as the relocation of the container terminal elsewhere on the island.

The development would see a new Ferry Terminal and continue along the waterfront, providing a series of public open spaces including theatres, pools and trees, a marina and a new cruise ship pier jutting into the harbour.

And a floating stage and seating on the land side of the cruise ship pier would create a major entertainment area in a new, protected inner harbour and be visible from the shore and from cruise ships.

The various areas would be connected by a continuous promenade up to King Street Park at the eastern end of Front Street.

Asked about the impetus behind the new plan, Sir John said yesterday: “It’s encouraging the public to look at the waterfront and decide what should happen. We have told them ‘this is one thing that might happen’.

He added: “No one has taken authorship of what will happen — this is something that might happen.

“This is Bermudians’ waterfront, this is not one individual’s waterfront. This is the lifeblood of Bermuda and it belongs to Bermudians. Bermudians should have a say — it will affect them and future generations of Bermuda. This is the last frontier of our development will define what Bermuda’s possibilities and potentials are.”

The architects for the major redevelopment, Linberg & Simmons, were responsible for a 2003 plan for the waterfront that came first in a competition before an international panel of judges. The On the Waterfront contest was organized by the Bermuda Sun, in partnership with Sir John Swan. It asked residents to paint, plan or draw a revitalized waterfront, covering all or part of the stretch from Albouy’s Point to the container docks. The contest led to the On the Waterfront Design Exhibition at Number Six Shed, which was mounted by Sir John to showcase all the entries. More than $50,000 in prize money was won in a range of categories

Although the country has yet to make a decision on allowing casinos on the island, the new proposals include a hotel-casino element — but Sir John steered clear of questions whether a casino would be vital to the enterprise.

Sir John said: “The reality is that we need to have a combination of things — we need to be current on what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

And he added that public participation was vital in gauging what kind of city they want to see in the future. He said: “I’m pleased just that people will participate, whether they like it or don’t. I’m not afraid of rejection or criticism.”

 

Sir John said he had chosen to unveil his plans now because he had an interest in the future of the city and of the island: “To sit idly by means you have an interest, but do nothing. I have an interest in Bermuda and I have chosen to do something.”

And Sir John added: “If you can’t dream of the possibilities, you can’t make a reality.”

The development’s website, which invites public comment on the plans, said: “We believe this proposal for the redevelopment of Hamilton’s waterfront will show the world not only that Bermuda means business, but that we care about the quality of life of our citizens and our visitors and that working together we can make Bermuda a better place for all... The promenade provides access to the waterfront and uninterrupted views of the harbour. Costly and disruptive land reclamation and new buildings have been kept to a minimum.

“New structures are low and transparent, so as not to disrupt the views. The public space, with soft lawns and cooling shade trees, create opportunities for eating, gathering entertainment and play.”

The development would also include underground car parking. Phase three of would see the relocation of the container docks and the building of the ‘Parliament Park Amphitheatre’.

The east end of the city would also connect to Court Street and help revitalise the area by creating a direct link to the new development.

The rebirth of the area would also include an open air market for smaller local businesses, as well as a convention centre and smaller-scale shops, cafes and restaurants.

Website: www.hamiltonwaterfront.bm