By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
A Canadian developer yesterday said the total investment required to complete a well-known Paradise Island condominium project will likely exceed the purchase price it paid for the property, as it bids to ready eight units for sale within 30-45 days.
Executives for Replay Destinations (Bahamas) told Tribune Business they were aiming to complete the remaining 52 units at Ocean Place within two years, after purchasing the unfinished properties from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) and its KPMG receivers.
Greg Ulmer, Replay Destinations (Bahamas) sales and marketing director, told Tribune Business that the acquisition, which closed last Friday, had taken the developer two years to close.
“We purchased 52 condos,” he confirmed to Tribune Business. “Of those 52, eight of them are nearly complete, and we’re going to finish those very quickly - in the next 30-45 days. Then we’ll release those units to the market very quickly.”
The purchase of Ocean Place’s 52 unfinished condos is the first Bahamian acquisition for Replay Destinations (Bahamas) and its Canadian parent.
Mr Ulmer confirmed the company had been scouring the Bahamas for potential real estate acquisitions for some time, before being attracted to Ocean Place by its Paradise Island location and the opportunity it provides.
Replay Destinations (Bahamas) parent is already involved in the Bahamas, albeit as a manager/planner - not an owner - for the Credit Suisse consortium that took control of the real estate component at the former Ginn sur mer project.
Its acquisition also allows Ocean Place to move beyond recent legal wrangles that followed CIBC FirstCaribbean’s appointment of KPMG as receivers for the nine-storey, 79 unit property in late 2012.
The bank moved in after the project’s initial developer, Al Ballard and his Peace Holdings company, defaulted on $37.079 million in unpaid interest and principal owed to it.
The affair resulted in a protracted legal battle, in which Mr Ballard and his attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to overturn both the receivership and a Supreme Court Order that the property be sold.
With those events now in the past, Mr Ulmer said Replay Destinations (Bahamas) was drawn to Ocean Place by its “ideal location” on Paradise Island.
“It’s one of the tallest buildings on Paradise Island, wonderful views, great location and great neighbourhood with the One & Only Ocean Club and Atlantis,” Mr Ulmer told Tribune Business.
“There’s so many people coming to New Providence and Paradise Island. It’s a perfect situation for us. We’ve been actively pursuing stuff in the Bahamas.
“We feel like the Bahamas is ideally suited to really start developing, and we’re pretty excited about this being our first entry into the Bahamas. We couldn’t ask for a better location.”
Mr Ulmer said the 52 units purchased were “in various stages” of development, with some only possessing plumbing and electrical fixtures.
He explained that Replay Destinations (Bahamas) plan was to sell the remaining condos in stages, with the second phased release of market-ready units likely to occur in February next year.
“We feel we’re likely to get them complete and deliverable in the next two years, and all completely finished in that timeframe,” Mr Ulmer told Tribune Business. “It may not take that long, but that’s what we estimate.”
He added that it was possible sales would take longer to complete, revealing that the first eight Ocean Place units were likely to be priced between the mid-$800,000s to just over $2 million.
The developer is working with Alexiou & Associates, the architect firm, and Mr Ulmer added: “Talking to local realtors, from what I understand those eight units could go very quickly to locals wanting something on the island.”
Pledging that Replay Destinations (Bahamas) would soon launch an “extensive marketing” and sales campaign, Mr Ulmer said: “I don’t think the initial purchase price was as dramatic as the amount of investment we’re going to make in the property.”
He added that Replay Destinations (Bahamas) had also met with the existing 27 condo owners at Ocean Place, who were “very optimistic about someone coming in to take over”.
“We could not be more pleased that after two years of work this acquisition for Replay is complete,” said Michael Coyle, Replay Resorts’ chief executive said in a statement.
“The growing popularity of the Bahamas, the ease of access to Nassau, the amenities of Paradise Island and improving real estate market conditions position this project very well to meet the growing market demand for second homes in a location where the supply of similar homes is very limited now and into the future.”
Bill Green, managing director of Replay Resorts, added: “As the tallest purely residential building on Paradise Island the condominiums offer tremendous views in all directions—over Nassau Harbour, across the Ocean Club golf course, and towards Atlantis.
“Being adjacent to Ocean Club with close proximity to the beach and Atlantis makes the location ideal for real estate buyers. There will never be another building like this on Paradise Island.”