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Stake Bank Cruise Port funding is secured; construction to commence this year

The 50 million US dollar project that was rejected by environmentalists for potential impact on manatees and welcomed by tourism stakeholders in the Belize District is finally getting positive feedback. Funding has been secured for the construction of the Stake Bank Cruise Port. The announcement was made today by developers, Stake Bank Enterprise Limited, a member of the Feinstein Groups of Companies, some ten years after the project was first proposed. The deal was sealed on Monday July 16th with the government, as the company secured and signed off on the funding with the Atlantic Bank. The project was expected to have started last December. That was announced back in August of last year, when the Government of Belize and Stake Bank Enterprise Limited signed what they described then as a “definitive” investment agreement. Michael Feinstein who signed on behalf of the company indicated that he would keep 51 percent of the shares in the company. It’s a project that has come a long way. In 2014, the Feinstein project had gotten rare bipartisan support when a bill to grant exemptions on the payment of taxes and duties was taken to Parliament. But in 2016 those plans fell through when talks rose of government entertaining other potential cruise port investors. Before the signing of the agreement with government, Feinstein had asked government to guarantee his loan for it and sought an exclusivity arrangement before proceeding to secure returns to make the project viable. But at the signing of the agreement, government indicated that no exclusivity would be granted. The port will be constructed four miles off the coast of Belize City. The company is expecting to break ground in a few weeks and construction is expected to commence immediately after. The port is expected to be completed within 18 to 24 months after construction commences and the company states it is expecting to provide jobs at that time. It will house two docks to accommodate 4 voyager class cruise vessels, including a 60-slip marina. The project should also include an upland development of about seventy thousand square feet of shopping centers, restaurants, Water Park, and beach and leisure areas. The project is estimated to cost fifty million US dollars.