Foreign direct investment built the modern Bahamas. Without foreign investment, it is not too difficult to imagine what would have become of the Bahama Islands. Nevertheless, this type of economic growth was not free; it came with a considerable social cost.
By 1959, massive property developments, by foreign investors, were taking shape across The Bahamas. In a number of instances, some of these developments, which had been started years earlier, were now changing ownership.
Cotton Bay, Lyford Cay, Coral Harbour, Cat Cay, Hog Island, Alex Wenner Gren in Andros, Bimini, Whale Cay, Wallace Groves, French Leave in Eleuthera, Cay Sal were just a few of multi-million dollar property deals happening in 1959.
A new cadre of foreign millionaires were entering a very lucrative Bahamas property market. They jockeyed for pride of place against some who had been in game for quite some time.
Alex Wenner-Gren, of Hog Island, with his 100,000 acre resort in Andros, was one of several wealthy residents, World War II personalities, who were still in The Bahamas after the war. Oddly enough, many would take their money (profits made in The Bahamas) to fund foundations and institutions in America and Europe.
Real estate titans and lawyers in Nassau, were making ridiculous amounts of money, sorting the minutiae details of these million dollar property deals.
Before Cotton Bay, there was Three Bays in 1950
Foreign direct investors were having an incredible year in 1959. Arthur Vining Davis was realising his dream for South Eleuthera. Out of some 30,000 acres known as Cotton Bay and Winding Bay, Davis created an exclusive, beachfront playground, for the well to do visitor and second home owner.
Cotton Bay and Winding Bay may have been originally called the Three Bays Resort which is near Rock Sound, Eleuthera.
Cotton Bay expand operations with 80 luxury cottages. Construction costs were $30,000 each. These would sold or leased, for three times that amount, as vacation homes.
Foreign Millionaires Buy Up The Bahamas 1959
As foreign millionaires move in Bahamian merchants make money
HISORY OF OWNERSHIP-French Leave, Eleuthera 100 acres was first used as a private residence and farm… ownership from Ruth Fahnestock de Marigny to Alfred de Marigny to Roland T. Symonette to Craig Kelly to Club Med
In 1937, 100 acres compromising what is now French Leave was purchased by the Ruth Fahnestock de Marigny, the first wife of Alfred de Marigny for $20,000. When Alfred divorced Ruth, he got the property. Alfred de Marigny went on to marry Nancy Oakes, the teenage daughter of Sir Harry Oakes. In 1943, Alfred de Marigny was charged with Oakes’s murder. He was acquitted. After his acquittal, de Marigny was broke. He was also asked to leave The Bahamas.
It was reported Alfred De Marigny sold the 100 acres property to Roland T. “Pop” Symonette for an undisclosed amount. Symonette sold the property around 1950 to actor Craig Kelly.
By 1957, French Leave had already been sold to movie actor Craig Kelly. He turned it into an exclusive resort. There was a major fire in 1972
Club Med took over the French Leave Resort in 1976 to 199
French Leave 2017 part of the Marriott Group