Morgan’s Point ready for a new chapter
Morgan’s Point is a shadow of its old self, but the uprooted tree stumps, levelled buildings and empty pipeline channels point to a new vision for this man-made military base.
The future of the old Naval Operating Base (NOB) has already begun to take shape after an extensive remediation project to remove asbestos and other hazardous materials from the site and to prepare the 182-acre property for a luxury hotel resort and residences.
Traces of the hustle and bustle of this vital military hub still remain almost exactly 20 years since American forces upped sticks and left Bermuda.
The overgrown baseball pitch and broken scoreboard, the old open-air cinema screen and projector room, and the infamous drinking and dancing haunt “Bermudoo” stand as poignant reminders of the lives of those who once called Morgan’s Point home.
Today the scarred landscape is awaiting its next transformation, one that its owners hope will lead the resurgence of the Bermuda tourism industry.
“A lot of the remedial work has already taken place,” said Craig Christensen, the president and chief executive officer of Morgan’s Point Ltd.
“There is probably another ten good weeks’ worth of work to go.
“So far six 1.5?million-gallon fuel tanks, 28 25,000-gallon tanks and two 500,000-gallon tanks have all been removed.
“The fuel pipelines that ran from the pier to the tanks have been taken out.
“Most of the old buildings, which were beyond repair, have also been levelled and materials containing asbestos removed.
“We hope to save some of the old structures: the old bachelor dormitory could make ideal staff quarters for the new resort and one of the existing buildings could provide storage space.
“The remedial work required was not as bad as had been previously made out, but a great deal needed to be done to prepare the site for redevelopment.”
The Morgan’s Point peninsula — a man-made union of two islands, Tucker’s and Morgan’s Island — was set up to serve as a strategic US outpost. It played an essential role during both the Second World War and the Cold War, and famously in 1944 the German submarine U-505 was brought into the Morgan’s Point main pier and hidden after its capture.
Developers are now looking at the possibility of using the same pier — once it is upgraded and brought up to standard — to bring construction materials directly on to site by ship.
They also hope to take a step back in time by separating the peninsula back into two islands connected by a short causeway.
Morgan’s Point Ltd is expected to submit the first phase of its proposals, which include an 84-room boutique hotel, spa, restaurant, marina and 35 residences, to the Department of Planning next month.
Developers hope to start work in June and complete the first stage of the project by the beginning of 2017 in time for the America’s Cup finals.
“There is a lot of work already going on behind the scenes,” Mr Christensen said.
“We have geotechnical staff on site at present completing surveys, as well as shoreline experts to make sure that everything we do is up to the highest standard.
“We are also keen to ensure that we keep the property as green as possible so that it fits in with its surroundings.
“This is a very exciting new chapter for Morgan’s Point.”
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