‘Raft of jobs’ set to be created
The Island's construction industry will face a race against time to ensure that the huge development requirements of the America's Cup are in place by 2017.
Yesterday's announcement that Bermuda will host the biggest race on the sailing calender is expected to spark a construction boom after years of stagnation and job losses.
Industry experts say that building firms and architects will face an uphill challenge to finish major hotel and infrastructure projects for the tight deadline.
But the knock-on effects of the Cup could propel big projects, such as Morgan's Point and the South Basin marina in Dockyard, and create a raft of job opportunities.
“This is a huge injection to the construction industry and will help to put Bermuda back on the map,” said Charles Dunstan, president of the Bermuda Construction Association.
“We have talked about the lack of outside investment for some time.
“The America's Cup is the kind of game changer that can provide huge impetus.
“It could also have the knock-on effect of getting those investors, who are currently on the fence, to see Bermuda as a viable location to invest in again.
“We probably don't know what the potential magnitude of this decision is yet, but it can propel projects like Morgan's Point to the point that there will be all sorts of local construction firms getting involved.
“We have a story to tell finally and something very positive is happening that is going to attract a lot of global attention on Bermuda. With this will come jobs and construction. It should help everyone.”
Mr Dunstan, the chief executive of Kaissa Ltd, the construction firm, also suggested that the pending arrival of the America's Cup could prompt a wave of home improvement projects as homeowners look to cash in on the potential rental market that the event will create.
“The America's Cup is also likely to have a big impact on the rental market,” he added.
“There will be a huge demand for places to stay when the event comes here, and that will drive refurbishments and renovation projects in the meantime that will help smaller construction firms, too.
“We will also see qualified construction workers, who have moved to other sectors due to the downturn, returning to their previous area of expertise to deal with the demand.
“There are around 2,000 people in the construction industry at the moment and we are going to need every one of them. It's a huge amount of work — and we will need help from outside Bermuda — but I believe we can handle it.”
Architect Julia van Beelen, a partner at Hamilton-based firm Cooper Gardner, described the America's Cup as “a very exciting prospect”.
“There is a heck of a lot of work that now needs to be done in a short period and architects are well positioned to be able to deal with these kind of things,” she said.
“I hope that there will be engagement with senior designers in the local industry to manage the ton of work that needs to be done.
“Hotel beds will be an issue, people will want to refurbish homes to rent and there will be lots of pop-up venues, too.
“A lot of forethought and co-ordination is needed — it's about being clever and being inventive.”