Sunday, April 14, 2024

HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Bay Street project falls apart

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ALMOST a decade after elaborate plans for the redevelopment of the Old Eye Hospital were revealed, the historic building is a picture of decaying splendour on Bay Street.

Built in 1805, the Georgian building with its rounded facade of ballast bricks was supposed to be the crowning glory of what was then called the Bay Street Development Project.

Twenty million dollars had been earmarked for the development which was slated to start in 2007 and, according to reports, the project had been given the all-clear from the Town and Country Planning Department.

The entire site was supposed to offer 15 000 square feet of commercial space, of which 9 840 square feet would have been the redeveloped Old Eye Hospital. The Savoy, a hotel next door to the Old Eye Hospital, as well as the now long gone jetty, were also to benefit from the facelift.

However, concrete blocks have long since replaced the broken windows and the roof of the Old Eye Hospital has lost a good amount of its galvanised sheeting.

But it was the sight of clothes hanging on the balcony to the seaward side that showed that someone, possibly a vagrant, was now calling the building home.

A source close to the 2006/2007 project put down the stalled project to a “change of management”.

“I’m not sure where the project is today but I think there was just a change of plans,” the source said.

However, chief executive officer of the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. Stuart Layne explained: “We are actively looking at the entire area but I can’t comment any further than that. We are looking at the area.”

Stressing that it was a heritage building, Layne also revealed the Bay Street Development Project was no longer active.

“We are looking at our options as it relates to the area,” he added.

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