Back in the mid-1990s a keen golfer arrived on St Lucia’s Cap Estate. As soon as he saw the nine-hole golf course he just knew that there was potential to build something really special. In the course of time, successful…
Back in the mid-1990s a keen golfer arrived on St Lucia’s Cap Estate. As soon as he saw the nine-hole golf course he just knew that there was potential to build something really special. In the course of time, successful US businessman Dennis Nardoni expanded the golf course into an 18-hole circuit, completely redesigning the St. Lucia course and creating a golfing environment that the rest of the Caribbean sports community could only dream about.
Fast forward to 2010 and real estate there has been hailed as “hot property” by the international press. Building on existing success the (sold out) Mount Hardy Development is under construction, just a stone’s throw away is some of the area’s best views and beaches. Meanwhile a second golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is under construction in this phenomenal setting and a new investment opportunity in this luxury sports community is also on offer. The forthcoming Sea Breeze Hills and Sea Breeze Heights have all the ingredients of a sell-out, in fact, more than 50 percent of the one half to one acre lots in this luxury gated community are already sold.
“You’ve got to remember it’s still about location, location, location,” says Cap Estates managing director and native St. Lucian Lawrence Samuel. “That’s still the mantra property investors need to remember. The Cap Estate is ideally situated in the northern part of St. Lucia, six miles away from the capital but close enough to the hub of tourism when residents need it. The beauty of this place is that there’s nothing crowded about tourism.
“After a round of golf and full use of the recreational facilities, it’s simple to go back to the serenity of your home.”
Of course, it’s always tricky to know how much investor interest will be expressed in new projects, so what sort of investors are likely to be attracted here. “All sorts,” affirms Samuel, “a real combination. There are those wanting to have their dream home on the island, in which case they may purchase a lot to build that dream home.
“There are those who are strictly interested in investment and in which case they may prefer to purchase a villa within a resort development. We have many British investors already here,” he continues, “the price range goes from $12 to $20 per sq ft, with plots of land from half an acre to more than an acre. Most people find their own architect.”
Make the cut
For those not looking for a large property but still want all the fantastic golf they can handle, Samuel recommends the new Island Club Villas. Set on a small rise in the middle of the St. Lucia Golf Club, this is an elegant villa community offering first class amenities and services. It’s also just a few short steps away from the clubhouse and a brief walk from the Cas en Bas beach – all within the lush, topical setting of a brilliant golf course. In total, 160 units offering 1,000 to 2,000 sq ft apartments are offered with a choice ranging from one to three bedrooms. “This will be built in the middle of an existing golf course,” says Samuel, “so as you can imagine, it’s going to be a very special place.”
It’s also a development offering plenty of privacy, quiet and fantastic views. Installed around the Estate, Samuel explains there will be a small commercial centre designed specifically for this community including supermarkets, a wine store, bank and post office.
Financing can be easily obtained in St. Lucia and Samuel recommends the Bank of Nova Scotia or First Caribbean International Bank, but what of long term investment potential? “We would suggest the condominiums for a straight investment purchase,” he says. “These are run by an experienced management company, Elite Island Resorts, who have a lot of experience with the four star hospitality industry and there’s the potential for pretty good returns.”
There’s also increased government infrastructure development in the region. “A lot of money is being invested in a new road network that will help avoid any congestion issues. Also, they’re building a new terminal building at the airport, a three year project which will accept more international flights.”
There are few worries about environmental damage given the “tough government environmental policy that governs all development here,” assures Samuel. “As we develop our projects there are constant checks and balances to ensure a harmonious design with the environment. We’re also part of the governing body to ensure this happens. As a developer, it is in our best interest to ensure that environmental best practices are applied in order to have a sustainable development.”
Mad about golf
Located on the northern tip of St. Lucia, an 18-hole golf course extends virtually from the Caribbean to the Atlantic coastlines. The par 71 championship course boasts 6,829 yards and a 350-yard driving range. The course also boasts a brand new 14,000 sq ft clubhouse and is strategically located in the most densely populated part of the island, both in terms of tourism and the local population. “It has turned out to be one of the most challenging courses in the Caribbean,” said Cap Estate East director Lawrence Samuel. “There are great undulations of hills and valleys with views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.” The facilities at the St. Lucia Golf Club include a practice putting green, a top quality duty free pro-shop that stocks branded golf equipment, and a restaurant and bar. Clubs and shoe rentals are available, as well as professional coaching. Taking the game to a new level, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, only a half mile from the St. Lucia Golf Club, begins development in early 2010. But the fact that this development is set on one of the most beautiful islands in the world makes the Cap Estate truly exceptional.
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