A property developer, with close ties to motor sport, is predicting significant spin-off benefits for the real estate industry and small business sector from the upgraded Bushy Park motor racing facility in St Philip.
Chief executive officer of Terra Caribbean, Andrew Mallalieu, made the forecast today as he officially launched the eighth edition of The Red Book at his Worthing, Christ Church office. The motor sport facility is highlighted in the latest edition of the yearly publication which is a guide to the local property market.
Mallalieu, who is president of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), told Barbados TODAY that in the same way that people who own a yacht or come here for other sporting events such as polo and golf and need a home, he saw similar demand from those coming here for car racing events.
“We feel very strongly that the development at Bushy Park warrants a closer look as to what it means beyond just motor sport and how it can be a catalyst for real estate development in that area,” he said.
He added: “What I understand is that Mark [Maloney, chairman of Bushy Park Circuit Inc.], has managed to get about 10 different wealthy people signed up to this programme where they are keeping a car and a property in Barbados. Some of them are keeping a property somewhere else, maybe along the beach, but they also want a luxury suite to go to when they are at Bushy Park.”
There is a master plan for the development of the area surrounding the track. It envisages the construction of a town centre, commercial units, and over 1,000 middle-income housing solutions.
Mallalieu said the advent of the sporting facility would also fuel the development of micro industries around motor sport. Gone are the days when motor racing events were only held on a weekend for about four to six weeks in each year, he noted.
“With the investment that they have made, this is something for 365 days of the year and that is going to be with it a lot of activities for a lot of small businesses surrounding the area. I think that is the kind of real estate development that we see,” said the Terra Caribbean executive.
“There are a lot of spin-off effects from that as well. We saw it with Top Gear and Global Rally Cross Championship and Race of Champions in that people needed to stay close to (Bushy Park) so all the hotels and the guest houses and the small restaurants, everything that is in that area, benefits significantly from the activity that is happening,” he added.
Mallalieu went on: “If I may predict, I think four or five years from now, we probably (will) see some type of an industrial park develop to focus on the whole sporting industry. We probably will see some mechanic shops and paint shops in that area just as it is around other race tracks all over the world.”
Mallalieu said he believed business could be sustained with the island being able to attract events year-round, including during the winter season. “There are a lot of motor sport and motor sport related activities. It is not all about Barbadians racing a car. It is about the world of motor sport using the destination of Barbados,” he explained.
“So we have huge potential in attracting foreign series which want a place for winter. They don’t particularly like racing between November and March in the UK and Europe. The weather is awful. They really like the idea of doing it here. So now we have the facility to do it and that is what we have to focus on.”
At the same launch, Manager of Holiday Rentals, Dominique Silvera, said she believed the Bushy Park development would allow the island to better compete with other tourist destinations.
“It is a competitive advantage in terms of Caribbean tourism. No other island has this to offer. We are all competing with sun, sea and sand and Barbados is offering a whole world of motorcar racing,” said Silvera.