US $500 Million Resort For St. Kitts

Basseterre, St. Kitts June 21st 2007 (CUOPM)

Kiawah Development Partners of South Carolina has announced it is part of a group planning to build a US$500 million to US$600 million luxury getaway resort on the island o St. Kitts.

The announcement comes three weeks after the Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas  “reaffirmed its strong support for a multi-million dollar tourism development on the south east peninsular of St. Kitts.”

A news report in South Carolina’s Post and Courier said: “Kiawah Development Partners is going offshore again for its next major real estate project.

This time, the company is part of a group planning to build a $500 million to $600 million luxury getaway on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

The property “” dubbed the St. Kitts Peninsula Resort “” would include a marina, a golf course, three hotels and an undetermined number of high-end condominiums, said Kiawah Development spokeswoman Karen Bacot.

“It’s been sort of bubbling for a while,” Bacot said. “Nothing’s signed or final yet.”Kiawah Development handles most of the private real estate development and owns two private golf courses on Kiawah Island. Its most recent major undertaking was the acclaimed Doonbeg Golf Club in Ireland’s County Clare.

On the Leeward Islands project, Kiawah Development is teaming up with J.B. Tubridy, a St. Kitts businessman, and Auberge Resorts, a private California-based owner of three resorts in California and the Inn at Palmetto Bluff near Hilton Head Island.

The three partners have been negotiating to buy a 2,700-acre peninsula on the southeast section of the island for about a year. The site is bounded by miles of coast along the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The property is privately held, but the St. Kitts and Nevis government is organizing the current owners to sell their holdings simultaneously.

St. Kitts is small “” 68 square miles “” and tourism has only recently overtaken agriculture as it’s No. 1 industry. The island which is east of Puerto Rico, has welcomed about 350,000 annual visitors in recent years, according to U.S. government figures.

“They’re obviously trying to shift from a sugar-based economy to a tourism-based economy,” Bacot said. The developers hope to close a deal on the land by August, but they are still working out the details of their partnership.

In a recent statement, the island government’s Cabinet of Ministers said it “reaffirmed its strong support for the project, considering the enormous benefits it would bring for employment opportunities and general economic activity.”

Meanwhile, Kiawah Development is hammering out agreements with several international hotel companies and celebrated golf course architect Tom Fazio, who has designed several Lowcountry layouts.

The three firms also have formed a non-profit group, the St. Kitts Foundation, to clean up trash from the surrounding reef, fix runoff problems and eventually address the ecological impact of their building plans.”

The statement from the Cabinet said that Auberge Firesky Company and North Carolina-based Kiawah Group project involves the development of a marina, three hotels, a golf course, about 2,000 high-end residential units around the golf course, restaurants, and commercial buildings.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Sustainable Development, Information  and Technology, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty said the Cabinet has been engaged in extensive discussions on this major project which is earmarked for the South-East Peninsula called the St. Kitts Peninsula Resort.

“Cabinet engaged in in-depth follow-up discussions on this project after a government team had met with the Kiawah and Auberge groups over the past weeks. Specific aspects of the long-term development agreement were debated and Cabinet approved the agreement in principle so that the developers are now expected to move ahead with project implementation as soon as possible,” said Carty.

He reaffirmed Cabinet’s strong support for the project considering the enormous benefits it would bring for employment opportunities and general economic activity.

He said the Cabinet urged the technical team involved in the negotiations to complete the negotiations as soon as possible.

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