Amidst the economic doldrums, the Barbados economy is set to get a significant boost over the coming months when an upscale West Coast development project begins.
After acquiring the over 200 acres of adjacent Lancaster Estate land in 2007, operators of Royal Westmoreland have decided to start development on 31 lots with an initial investment of about US$2 million scheduled to kickstart the development later this year. The 31 lots could rake in more than US$60 million in sales, plus millions more, when the houses and condos are constructed.
In addition to that development, Westmoreland is currently carrying out construction on a number of multi-million dollar houses and townhouses.
What’s more, chief executive officer Greg Schofield told Barbados TODAY at the official launch of the Lancaster Estate side of the development, that there has been an increase in interest from overseas investors seeking to own or rent high-end properties in Barbados.
“We find in the last few months with the pound [Sterling] getting stronger against the dollar we get a lot more interest again. The interest of people, we find, is in the higher end in the $3.5 million and upwards range. We find some interest there; not lots, but people are looking to spend that money and they are confident in investing into Barbados,” he said.
“I think the outlook is picking up. Barbados is coming around. There is a bit more confidence. We are seeing a few more sales going through but we are getting more enquiries.”
Without giving details, he said there were plans to “open a premises off site” to deal with some of the traffic, and by the end of September a shared ownership product should be introduced.
He said while the British market remained the strongest for the upscale properties, there was increased interest from the Canadian market for the shared ownership, which he said was aimed at “a younger audience”.
The operators say so far this year sales have been good and the trend is expected to continue.
In addition to the dwellings, the new development will consist of a nine-hole golf course. Royal Westmoreland currently employs more than 500 people directly and indirectly.
Construction director Ian Putley told Barbados TODAY the development came at an opportune time for the country.
“We are one of the few people that seem to be selling and building for the overseas clients. So it is great for us in terms of being a developer and employing the contractors. It is great for Barbados because of the foreign exchange, as 99 per cent of our purchasers are foreign owners who are bringing those funds into the island. In addition, the sub-division where we are now, this is 31 lots,” he said.
Explaining the significance of the investment into the economy, Putley said in addition to the potential land investment of US$60 million, a number of individuals were interested in building properties ranging from US$2 million to US$4.5 million.
“So it is substantial amounts of money and a major part of our future as well. We have seen our premier lots sell out over the past five years, despite the recession. We needed this parcel for that continuity,” he said.
Royal Westmoreland is a 500-acre development with about 200 built homes, clubhouses and beach houses, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, swimming pools and gyms.
A number of famous international people own properties in the high-end West Coast location.