The Turks and Caicos Weekly News
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011
By Gemma Handy
A TWO BILLION dollar luxury development – featuring two hotels, 35 villas and plush condos – is heading for North Caicos.
The Greenwich Beach Resort & Spa is the latest in a string of forthcoming projects recently announced, sparking hopes that TCI is on the cusp of a financial comeback.Proposals for a European style-resort in Grace Bay, a new hotel in Grand Turk, and the revival of the long shelved West Caicos project are also causing a stir.And they’re all hot on the heels of a healthy surge in tourist numbers.
From home theatres to wine cellars, interior water features to a full service spa, Greenwich Beach bosses hope to attract an abundance of well-heeled clientele to North Caicos.The scheme will be spread out over 50 gated acres on the north coast of the isle, accessible only by golf cart.Developers plan to maintain the ‘garden island’s’ pristine beauty with a host of eco-friendly initiatives including limiting boats into the lighted lagoon to electric-powered vessels only.Up to 35 custom estate homes, all with either beach or lagoon frontage, will be created along with high-end condos, two five-star hotels, three restaurants and a marina.
With Provo’s new longer runway now complete, paving the way for direct transatlantic flights, plans for a 250-300 room European-style hotel in Providenciales are also on the table.
Complete with conference facilities, it is destined for a spot near the Seven Stars resort in Grace Bay and has already attracted backing from advisory council members.
A government spokesman said: “It would mark a diversification of the tourist sector from a condominium based model and into another distinct area that could attract a new market.”TCInvest is to lead negotiations with the developers, in consultation with the Governor’s office.
Earlier this month, Grand Turk pastor Chad Archbold briefed the consultative forum about a blueprint for a large hotel under discussion for the capital island.
Meanwhile, plans to restart work on West Caicos are gathering momentum. Governor Ric Todd was due to present a consultation document with details of the scheme to the advisory council this week. It will then be released to the public for further input.The Molasses Reef project has been on ice since September 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.The luxury 125-room hotel and 30 condominiums were 75 per cent complete with most of the condos already sold, when the US investment bank filed for bankruptcy listing debts of $613bn, the biggest in American history.Work on the exclusive Ritz Carlton-branded scheme, one the largest projects the TCI has ever seen, had been underway for two years.
The previously uninhabited 11-square mile island features some of the region’s finest beaches while the surrounding reef is said to be the final resting place of Columbus’ Pinta.
It is hoped the scheme’s resurgence, along with the other developments in the pipeline, will kickstart TCI’s listless construction industry and spawn a plethora of new jobs.
This month Tourist Board figures revealed TCI had seen an 18 per cent rise in visitor numbers for the first half of the year, compared to the same period last year.
Between January and June, the country welcomed in 222,596 visitors. A campaign to lure more visitors to the sister islands too is now underway via eye-catching billboards and media advertisements.