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A Developing Landscape

These days, it takes more than some pilings, a wooden dock and a garbage dumpster to make a Caribbean marina. The megayacht market has taken the marine sector to a whole new level, with everything from wi-fi points to helipads provided on site.

At the same time, tourism is increasingly embracing the affluence of the yachting world [yes, that means you!] and the latest projects borrow ideas heavily from the marine community.

In the next couple of years, a new generation of marine developments is possibly rolling out luxury to a piece of land near you…

Dominican Republic – Atlantica, Luperon

One of the most ambitious projects to be undertaken in the Caribbean. The billion dollar Atlantica development will see 3,000 residential units in 7 villages, 20 hotels, golf courses, a cruise ship terminal, dry dock, superyacht hangar, airstrip with hangars for up to 50 private jets and the DR’s largest marina transplanted into the natural hurricane shelter of Luperon Bay on the island’s northern tip.

The development offers private docks for yachts up to 250 feet, 450 marine slips, 80 super yacht hangers, 5 shipyards, 13 dry dock parking slots and a 100,000 gallon fuel station.

USVI – Yacht Haven, St Thomas Harbor, St Thomas

Phase 1 of the Marina at Yacht Haven, which will cost some $160 million, is due to be completed in December 2005. Situated next to St Thomas¹ impressive cruise ship facility in Charlotte Amalie, Yacht Haven will cater both to mega yachts and traditional sail boats. There will be some 50 slips for yachts up to 300ft and two slips for those up to 450ft.

The complex will include 80,000 sq ft of retail space, 30,000 sq ft of office space, 12 luxury condominiums and four restaurants, while on the marine side there will be in-slip fuelling, in-slip oil pump out, 3 phase power up to 600 amps, a yacht club, secure access and provisioning www.yachthavengrande.com

BVI – Mainsail Scrub Marina, Scrub Island

For the serious game fisherman, two words – ‘North Drop’ – are enough to make the pulse quicken and the palms become damp. The new Mainsail Scrub Marina, the first facility to be built in the BVI in the last 20 years, will be the nearest full-service marina to this legendary fishing ground.

Scrub is a five-minute ferry ride from Beef Island in Tortola. The marina, which will include up to 60 slips for boats between 40’ and 150ft, will be on the pass between Scrub Island and Great Camanoe, giving protection from weather on four sides.

While slips will be offered initially to property owners on the 230sq acre development, those that are not taken will be made available to the public. Fuel and ice will be on offer at the marina, and plans are in the pipeline to open up a Customs office, making Mainsail a clearing point into the BVI.

Construction has just begun; Mainsail is due to be completed in Fall 2007.

St Maarten –
Cupecoy Yacht Club

Inside the Simpson Bay Lagoon on the west side of Cupecoy Bay, development is underway for a 40-berth marina for vessels between 20’ and 300’+. Owned by Orient Express Hotels, Cupecoy will mainly be focused around 169 condominiums, but owners can lease berths to outside yachts. The complex will also feature boutiques, restaurants and ample security. Occupancy is due to begin in Fall 2007. www.cupecoyyachtclub.com

St Maarten – AquaMarina

Completed in August this year, AquaMarina is the latest development from the Maho Hotel Group. Located in Simpson Bay Lagoon at Pointe Pirouette, the 7-acre site fits in two apartment blocks with 19 appartments, 61 individual luxury condominiums, five penthouses, and a private marina with 36 boat slips.

Each five-bedroom apartment in the gated community has its own private boat dock. www.aquamarinasxm.com

St Lucia – The Landings, St Lucia

“St Lucia is not spoiling its Tourism development with lots of high rise hotels and cramming its beaches with low end condos,” says Michael Bryant, Director of Marketing at SunSwept resorts.

Proof is provided by The Landings, inspired by Barbados’ Port St Charles development. Work has already begun and will see 228 luxury properties built on a 19-acre site in Rodney Bay. Billed as a ‘yacht-oriented condominium resort’ by CEO Frank Heaps, The Landings is the largest private capital investment in the island’s history ($135 million) and features private dockage and moorings and no duty tax levied on boats registered there for the first 100 purchasers. Crucially, the properties are being offered Freehold rather than Leasehold.

With 50% of buyers so far coming from the UK, The Landings looks set to hit its initial target – to create a luxury marine resort in time for the February 2007 Cricket World Cup, when thousands of Brits (many of them ARC veterans) will descend on St Lucia for some leather on willow. The idea is that some will make their relationship with St Lucia a little bit more permanent. http://www.thelandingsstlucia.com/

Barbados – Port St Charles, Barbados

A mile north of beautiful Speightstown, Port St Charles was actually completed in 2004, but continues to expand. The development is now a port of registry for boats under 150 tonnes, has six megayacht berths up to 250ft, a helipad and a new customs office, making it an additional point of entry. Private berths owned by the properties range from 30’ to 110ft, with lagoon depth 8ft at low tide.

A few fun sailing races organised by residents aim to take the focus away from Carlisle Bay a little, while the port hosts its own International Game Fishing Tournament each year.www.portstcharles.com

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