After waiting for about a decade to get Government approval, owner Sir Charles COW Williams is reporting that his $300 million investment in the Apes Hill Club in St James is already paying off.
Sir Charles reported last night that the upscale development, which he said was attracting a lot of interest, had already raked in close to $400 million in financial returns.
“We only had a soft opening of Thursday afternoon [last week] and we have had two people have functions here Friday and Saturday night,” the businessman said.
He said he was proud that the project, which was a long time in coming, had finally come to fruition.
“I started thinking about this when I was in my 70s,” revealed Sir Charles, who is in his 80s.
He also said he was looking forward to the opening in February next year, which is due to coincide with a polo, golf and tennis tournament.
“We are patriotic Barbadians and we think that this will do good for Barbados. This project has already brought in close to US$200 million into this country in investment,” said Sir Charles, while stressing the importance of foreign exchange to the island.
However, the businessman expressed disappointment over the time it took him to get the necessary Town & Country Planning approval to do the development on 500 acres of land which was first occupied by a sugar estate that was later converted to a dairy farm.
“You might not believe it, it took me ten years to get permission to build this. It used to employ eight people on a dairy farm. The pseudo-agriculturalists said I was taking land out of sugar to put into a golf courses and it should be stopped. Ten years! I told you what it has brought in. I hope it will continue to bring in a lot more,” said Sir Charles.
He was addressing the official launch of the highly anticipated third annual Classical/Pops Barbados Festival that is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10, at the Apes Hill Club.
The massive concert, which feature international opera singers, has attracted thousands of people over the past two years and organizers are hoping for at least 30 per cent growth this year.