ABOUT 250 locals have secured jobs at the multi-million dollar resort project being developed in phases at the fast-growing tourism hub in the Central Division — Pacific Harbour.
The development previously operated as Taunovo Bay Resort is under 100 per cent new ownership and has been rebranded Nanuku Resort and Spa.
The resort development is both owned and is being developed by US-based Sanctuary Fiji LLC, a fully-owned subsidiary of Chicago-based Bixby Bridge Capital.
It has been confirmed that Nanuku Resort directly employs 180 workers involved in the construction of the resort, infrastructure and refurbishment of the resort villas included in phase one.
Nanuku Resort and Spa development director Jeff Larsen, in an interview, said their building and civil contractors also employed an additional 75 workers. In all, he said there were more than 250 locals working every day to complete the development.
"This, of course, does not mention the myriad of Fijians who are being employed or impacted by the dollars being spent in the local Pacific Harbour and Navua area (architects, engineers, truck drivers, thatch providers, etcetera).
"There are a lot of Fijians being supported through this investment project," Mr Larsen said.
"We are also trying to source as many construction materials from local suppliers and remain very committed to supporting the local community and business long term," he said.
"When the resort reopens, there will be additional employment and economic opportunities created through the eventual ongoing operation of the resort.
"This is a long-term investment for the new owners and the project cannot be successful without the commitment and hard work of our employees."
Mr Larsen said the new owners were committed to completing the development in phases. He said they had completed all the design and had obtained all development approvals to complete the $40 million phase one of the development now in progress.
Mr Larsen said the first phase included the acquisition of the 490-acre development property in May last year, located on 2.5 kilometres of freehold beachfront property and the airport in Pacific Harbour.
He said the phase also included the completion of all underground services and infrastructure for the 34-lot freehold beachfront subdivision that would soon be launched as the Nanuku Cove Estate subdivision.
Sanctuary Fiji LLC principal David Williams said this was the first major investment in Fiji by their parent company Bixby.