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BARBADOS - polo real estate
WHILE THE $800 MILLION Apes Hill Club is just starting to take shape, some of the region's and world's richest are already lining up to grab a piece of the action.
Construction magnate Sir Charles Williams told the DAILY NATION over the weekend that while the first segment of lots would not be ready for "conveyance" until around December, already 80 of the 93 "have owners".
West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara is among those securing lots at Apes Hill which, when completed, will represent the single largest investment of its kind ever in Barbados.
The Trinidadians, the source added, had been frequently using the term "parking our money" in reference to their investments in Barbados.
The Apes Hill development, which is being executed in two phases, covers almost 500 acres in St James and St Thomas primarily, while skirting the St Andrew border. It will comprise two golf courses, 160 lots with just over 330 residences, including 150-plus condominiums.
On the north-western corner of the project, on Waterhall Plantation, St James, will be a 120-room, five-star luxury hotel, while on the eastern edge, at Farmers, St Thomas, a massive dam is under construction to trap 80 million gallons of rainwater which will be channelled through a series of pipelines to feed two large three-million-gallon lakes on the golf courses.
Sir Charles disclosed too that because of the "fantastic view", a number of super rich non-nationals were anxious to get their hands on a few choice million-dollar lots from which they could see both North Point in St Lucy and East Point in St Philip.
"This is going to be a fantastic project," he said. "This is going to make a name for Barbados like we have never had. When we were mapping out this project we knew it was going to be one of the top five golf courses in the world.
"Now that our partners, Landmark Limited [of Maryland, United States] have had a chance to intimately survey the land, they are convinced it will beat the one in Santo Domingo, which is considered now to be No. 1."
In fact, Jerry Barton, of Landmark, has noted that the beauty of the area was partially responsible for his decision to invest in the project. His company has built some of America's best known golf courses.
The first course will take golfers over 18 holes that cover steep hillsides with a commanding view of the East Coast, gullies, lakes, even through a cave, while surrounded by towering palm trees and other lush vegetation that have existed naturally for decades.
"I guarantee you this project will bring investment and foreign exchange to Barbados in a way that will be extremely beneficial to the country," said Sir Charles.
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