by Roy R. Morris
After years of sitting idle, a major West Coast luxury tourism project is about to take off.
All permissions for the four-acre, beach-front complex, which is being undertaken by British interests, have now been obtained, Barbados TODAY has learnt and soon construction equipment will be rolling on to the site south of Holetown and seaward of the Sunset Crest area of St. James.
A telephone call to Construction Director Pat Gill, of UK & European Investments, one of the British companies behind the project, confirmed that all approvals had been received.
However, he declined to provide any information on when the project would start, how much it would cost or any other details surrounding the project.
However, Ministry of Finance sources confirmed Government had been told that the project was projected to cost between $150 million and $160 million.
A team representing the developers has been in Barbados recently meeting with key Government officials, including Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, to ensure that the project could get going quickly and that once that happened there would be no obstacles to a smooth construction phase.
This, Barbados TODAY, understands, included the seeking of assurances from Government that matters such as Value Added Tax refunds would be handled speedily.
While he too was unable to give intimate details about the project, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said his understanding was that all hurdles had now been overcome and work should get underway shortly. He said he was confident that once Beachlands came on stream in would inject fresh interest in Barbados’ tourism product.
Beachlands is expected to comprise a combination of luxury apartments and villas numbering around 55, and Sealy noted that it was important to keep in mind that in recent times the growth that had taken place in the local market was in the villa area.
“The reality is that traditional hotel rooms have not grown a lot in recent times; but it has been in the villa segment that we have seen exciting growth in room stock,” Sealy said.
“A project like Beachlands can add fairly significantly to that picture.”
Just a few weeks ago Gill had told Barbados TODAY via telephone from the UK they were keen to get the project started.
“We submitted a revised planning application last fall hoping to have a quick turn around to allow us to get on with the project. Unfortunately we still don’t have the consent… We want to get on with this project and want to start this year,” he said.
One of the local real estate companies selling the project, Island Villas, in describing the project on its website said: “Beachlands is a private and exclusive beach front site on the West Coast of Barbados, located on a stunning beach near the shopping, entertainment and service centre of Holetown.
“Beachlands is set within approximately four and half acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and enjoys spectacular beach and sunset vistas. The site is perfectly suitable for the development of private, single dwelling residences or alternatively luxury condominiums. A planning permission is in place for the development of 40 apartments and 6 penthouses.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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