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Sep 4, 2013

Businessman Mike Feinstein Unveils Mega-Million Dollar Tourism Infrastructure Project

Years after it was conceived, the Stake Bank Project has been dusted off and resurrected; it was officially launched today at the Belize Biltmore Plaza as the Ocean View Grand and Stake Bank. It is a mega-million dollar development which according to businessman Mike Feinstein, of the Feinstein Group of Companies, requires an investment of two hundred million dollars which will bring considerable more dividends to the tourism industry. Stake Bank Caye is located two miles southeast of Belize City; the development will also involve Drowned Key. The National Environmental Appraisal Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the Environmental Impact Assessment, but it is not confirmed whether the NEAC gave the green light. Objections had been raised about the construction of a causeway that would potentially disrupt the endangered manatee population inhabiting Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary. But today stakeholders fell in line with the development. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.  

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Ocean View Grand and Stake Bank, multimillion dollar infrastructure projects to be undertaken by the Feinstein Group, were unveiled today before a captive audience of tourism stakeholders at the Biltmore Hotel.  The proposed development is set to take place on North Drowned Caye, situated just two miles off the coast of Belize City, and a docking facility, to serve as a port of entry, will be built at Stake Bank.  The massive investment to transform the nearby island into a commercial hub has been the brainchild of developer Michael Feinstein for several years and is now on the verge of becoming a reality.

 

Michael Feinstein, The Feinstein Group

Michael Feinstein

“As far as what this whole entire project means to the economy of Belize and presently Belize receives sixty-one million U.S. dollars from cruise tourism, seven million from crew.  The numbers will definitely go up to at least two hundred and fifty million U.S. dollars and another forty from the crew.  If we can keep two hundred million Belize back into the economy here, you’re looking at a project that will give back into the economy seven hundred million Belize dollars a year.”

 

Since its conception a few years ago, the idea has been met with opposition from environmentalists, particularly among those whose primary concern are the manatees that inhabit the Swallow Caye Sanctuary, where a causeway will be built to access the destination.

 

File: June 20th, 2013

Jamal Galvez

Jamal Galvez, Coastal Zone Management

“I was looking at the approach that you guys took to put the causeway through the Swallow Caye Sanctuary and that you have used aerial survey; aerial is just one day. And it just sees the animals in a certain position that one instance. And those three manatees, where those tags were, it doesn’t show the movement of the animal. So it doesn’t tell you if the animal actually goes along the part. I think that you guys need to approach the people at Swallow Caye and ask them about the monitoring of these animals and it is unfortunate that this situation came up after Chocolate died because he had fight for this place for years and years. I think you guys need to talk closely with Swallow Caye in regards to the causeway going through there because it will cause; there is nothing that could affect manatee more than putting a causeway through the only area in Belize they call home.”

 

In response to that concern, Feinstein draws a comparison with the potential damage caused by vessels trafficking the area to transport visitors to and from the cruise ships.

 

Michael Feinstein

“If you have a bridge where traffic is using, a bridge always, and pilings always create habitat, habitat creates fish and marine life.  No, absolutely no manatee will die from this project.  However, if you look at all the tendering back and forth I think that is more dangerous to the manatee than the bridge.”

 

Once completed Ocean View will be accessible to Belizeans.  Tom Greenwood, President of the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, is vocal in his support of the project.

 

Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB

Tom Greenwood

“We believe that this project in its entirety is going to be good.  We see the development in the south and that again is berth-age.  We see this as berth-age.  This can take up to four ships and I dare say that with a little extension left and right there, we’re looking at the potential for eight ships but I don’t think that we’re going to go that far, possibly five or six at the most.  Our destinations can only take so much.  Ladies and gentlemen, the federation supports the Feinstein project based on the things I’ve told you and I said it may sound a little selfish but we are a federation, we are looking after ourselves.”

 

While much is being said about a similar development to be constructed on Harvest Caye in southern Belize, the issue of usage has been raised.  Feinstein says an contract is currently in place with two of the major cruise lines to take advantage of the facility.

 

Michael Feinstein

“We have an agreement that was signed by even Carnival, as well as Royal Caribbean that they cannot object to the Stake Bank Project.  In fact, Royal Caribbean is hoping to be an investor in this new project and they have pretty much committed to that.”

 

Whereas a number of investors have expressed interest in funding the hundred million U.S. dollar project, the green light is yet to be given by government.  Feinstein also spoke on the potential impact of the existing agreement between Norwegian Cruise Line and the Government of Belize concerning arrivals at Harvest Caye.

 

Michael Feinstein

“The prime minister has said publicly that only Norwegian will be allowed to use that facility.  That being the case, I have no problem.  So if, as Mike McFadden had mentioned, we’re gaining back the seven percent on crew here because they’d be able to get off the ships.  But if that changes and the agreement actually reads that they are allowed to bring whatever they want down south then I will not do this project. It has been presented to the government already, twelve, thirteen copies and I believe, my understanding is that the government will start dealing with that at the next Cabinet meeting on the fourteenth.  So, we’re not looking at an MOU, we have the full agreement.”

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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4 Responses for “Businessman Mike Feinstein Unveils Mega-Million Dollar Tourism Infrastructure Project”

  1. Marie says:

    Lets get development rolling. Instead of fighting-work together-obviously crusies are going to be bigger than overnight it seems. Work with norewigian and forget about rich environmetnailsits. Bring the money, jobs, and development Mike-Congrats to being brave to do this.

  2. beliazean for life says:

    Is this Mike Feinstein the same Mike who was building the airport and the 5 star hotels down south?

    If he is the same guy, don’t trust him. He likes to do stuff under the table.

  3. Tim A.L. says:

    No that is a different Mike, this is the Mike of the Belize Tourism Village, that is highly successful today, Mike Feinstein has a phenomenal track record in Belize, and employs 1000s of people. 100% Belizean. Really brilliant developer.

  4. cassandra arana says:

    Mr. Dean barrow plz put ur shoes in ours for a day den maybe u will think twice of d choices u make to the poor people of this beloved country.if u n ur buddies mike fienstein n d rest of them can get rich y can’t we?!oh because we don’t mean nothing n we don’t have children too feed n we’re paying taxes in other words ur bill.hmmm #shade shame on u all n I pray for this country that no ones cares about any more.wish Hon. George price was here to see what he fought for

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