Investors impressed with Harlequin’s vision
July 17, 2009
Investors impressed with Harlequin’s vision

in the UK

Two British investment managers believe that the Caribbean is an exciting market for Europeans looking to invest in real estate.

The global financial crisis, which has affected the European housing market, has opened the door for investors to put their money into new, exciting tourism property ventures.{{more}}

“It is very exciting and very different,” is how Steve Baker of the Kent, England based McLaren Wealth Management firm described the two new projects that Harlequin Hotels and resorts are currently constructing in St Vincent and the Grenadines and in St Lucia.

Baker spoke to SEARCHLIGHT at the official launch of the Buccament Beach Resort (St Vincent) and the Marquis Estate Project (St Lucia), which was held at the Grove Luxury Resort, in Watford, England, July 13th and 14th.

Baker, who has been in the Wealth Management business for over 23 years, said that the Harlequin project has caught the eye of his clients because the Harlequin team have gone about the projects very professionally.

He said that many medium sized business owners in the United Kingdom, who are doing okay, have capital that they would like to invest, and the prospect of buying these luxury villas and making steady rental income, is quite appealing.

Baker also noted that because a renowned hotel management company like the Spanish company Oasis will be running the Buccament Resort, it helps to give his potential investors even more confidence in the project.

This is also the view of Simon Miller, who co-owns Simon Miller and Company Limited, a real estate firm, with his wife.

He said that while some potential investors have been skeptical of Harlequin’s dream project, due diligence done on the project has convinced them that they are what they have been chalked up to be.

“Our conclusion (after doing due diligence) is that the risk is worth the while,” Miller, who has been in business 26 years, told SEARCHLIGHT.

He said that in all his conversations with potential clients, no one has said no; they only want to ensure that everything was above board.

He explained that one reason for the confidence placed in the two projects is the people involved in the projects.

The St Lucia property, which sits on 700 acres and is set to open by 2015, will include a championship golf course bearing the name of 18-time Major Golf Championship winner, South African Gary Player.

That massive resort will also include Player’s first ever hotel along with a Harlequin hotel. Player’s hotel will be managed by Capella Hotel and Resorts, while Harlequin’s, as is the case in St. Vincent, will be managed by Oasis Hotels.

Another former sports star who is in partnership with Harlequin is former Wimbledon tennis champion, Australian Pat Cash. Cash will be operating tennis academies at both hotels, and said that he is excited about the prospect, following his recent visit to St Vincent, where he got a chance to see several talented junior tennis players.

The visible cooperation of the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia also goes a long way in wooing potential investors, Miller explained.

At the extravagant launch which saw over 2,000 guests, including investors and potential investors, travel agents and real estate agents, attending various functions over the two days, the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia were well represented.

Prime Minister of St Lucia Stevenson King led his delegation, while the Vincentian team included Minister of Tourism Glen Beache, Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Yvonne Armor Shillingford, Chairman of the National Investment Promotions Incorporated Edmond Jackson and Minister of Health and the Environment Dr Douglas Slater, in whose constituency the Buccament Resort is located.

The first phase of the Buccament Beach Resort, which includes 400 rooms of the planned 1,000, is scheduled to be opened by July 1st, 2010, with the other phase set to coincide with the completion of the Argyle International Airport.