First class luxury resort for Quatre Isle
November 24, 2006

First class luxury resort for Quatre Isle

With a pristine island, akin to something of an artist’s blank canvas, the Mitchell family and its investors are about to paint a picture of a first class luxury resort in Quatre Isle and then bring it to life.

They will convert the 220 developable acres of the 300-acre island into a US$100 million residential resort financed purely by equity capital by investors of Dexior Financial Inc, a multi-national company with offices in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands.{{more}}

Located three-quarters of a mile south of Bequia, the island that has been in the family of former Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Sir James Mitchell for more than a century, is set to become the latest upscale hideaway in the Grenadines based on the same model as Mustique – one of the playgrounds of the rich and famous.

The blank canvas that has been thrown the Mitchell’s way is an excellent opportunity for them to create a purpose-built resort, Louise Mitchell told Searchlight Business.

“Traditionally in the Caribbean and most of the world you find resorts going up in an ad hoc manner. We have the luxury, in this case, that the entire island is completely untouched save for the ruin of an old house of my great grandfather. There is no infrastructure. Everything from the gradient of the roads to the positioning of the jetties will be planned in detail so there will be no major mistakes in terms of such things as the noise of the desalination plant affecting the homes, everything will be positioned strategically to take advantage of the typography of the land,” she said.

The master planner is due in about five weeks and will begin with the base plan that has already been created by Glenford Stewart of Stewart Engineering Ltd.

By mid-2007, the master plan should be ready so that the engineers and contractors can move into phase two of the project – the installation of the infrastructure which would include roads, desalination plant, telecommunications, a power plant, and two jetties – a large one on the western side of the island next to Paget Farm in Bequia to receive all the heavy duty construction equipment and material and a smaller jetty on the eastern side to facilitate easy access from the other Grenadine islands.

During this phase, expected to be completed in about 2010, a boutique hotel, comprising three or four villas, a restaurant, and anti-aging spa, will be constructed and available for potential buyers as they visit to view the plots during the marketing phase. By 2012 the first luxury villas should have been constructed.

A total of 60 villas along with a marina and sporting facilities will characterise Quatre Isle, as the investors prefer to call the island.

About 60 Dexior investors have already visited and the response has been overwhelming said Mitchell.

The project will be based on the Mustique model.

“It really was my father’s dream to develop a resort of this kind on the island. We had been in the hotel business for the past 40 years so hotels and resorts are something we know a lot about. My father was a director of the Mustique company for probably about 20 years so he played a crucial part of creating the Mustique model, so he knows it inside out, he knows what works and what didn’t,” said Mitchell.

Active planning started two and a half years ago and took the Mitchells through a winding path of negotiations, engineering planning, seeking out financing, conducting an environmental impact assessment and getting Parliamentary approval.

“Everything has come together now,” she said. “While it was his dream, my father did not have time while he was in active politics and it would have been a conflict of interest for him to grant himself concessions”.

Sir James retired from active politics October 27, 2000. He served as prime minister from April 1972 to December 1974 and again from July 1984 to his retirement in October 2000. At the time of being elected to office for a third term he became the longest serving prime minister in the Caribbean.

His wife and one daughter manage two family hotels in Bequia. The second daughter is an architect, while Louise is a lawyer and present director of the International Financial Services Agency.

Maintaining the environment is such a major focus that about $2 million is being spent on an afforestation project. The built environment is expected to be about 10 per cent of the total land mass and talks are still to be held with the architects and engineers on the type of power to be used on the island and types of vegetation, considering that the island does not have a natural source of water. Particular attention is being paid to the types and numbers of vehicles to be used on the island. They are expected to be electric vehicles.

The quality of construction to withstand natural and man-made hazards is also on their minds and the developers said that the standards being used will exceed the engineering standards used in the major market places.

Quatre Isle is currently being marketed privately to investors, mainly in North America and Europe.

During the construction phase approximately 300 Vincentians should be employed and once the resort is up and running, there should be permanent employment for up to 1,000 Vincentians.

“I think something that has always driven my father is creating opportunities for people. It is what he has done his whole life and even in retirement it is something he is mindful to do knowing the great impact it can have on the lives of people in Bequia.”

The Mitchell family and investors have also given an undertaking to government to reconstruct a jetty at the adjacent Paget Farm but Mitchell said they didn’t have to ask; considering that Paget Farm was the bedrock of political support for her father over the years, it was just natural to help.

Quatre Isle Development Company will take orders for and construct the villas while the Quatre Isle Management Company will manage the properties.

The investor company, Dexior, was founded in Canada in 1996, to address the equity gap for smaller businesses, while simultaneously providing compelling, private equity investment opportunities for qualified investors.

Today, the Dexior Financial Group comprises three independent, private investment companies operating within Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. The Group offers investors predictable rates of return at acceptable levels of risk by applying an innovative and tested approach to business investments.

The Group also focuses on the provision of private equity such as for ownership of equity securities in companies that do not trade on any of the stock exchanges. The investment profile is heavily weighted towards small and medium-sized businesses in real estate; hospitality including restaurants, catering, hotels; financial services; industrial products, technology, and medical services. Each company within the group operates independently within its national jurisdiction and complies to the applicable regulatory framework.