$500M snag: Luxury St. Philip tourism/residential project delayed by financial problems

by Shawn Cumberbatch

Site of the proposed PURE project
Site of the proposed PURE project

One of the largest upscale hotel/residential developments ever earmarked for Barbados has been delayed by funding challenges.

But almost two years after breaking ground at the site of their proposed $500 million project at Foul Bay, St. Philip, management of Pure Beach Resort & Spa is assuring their “founding members” the venture remains “attractive and viable” and that new joint venture partners were coming on board and additional sources of funding being secured.

Barbados TODAY understands that in recent months senior Pure Beach officials have been notifying associates that they are now in fruitful discussion with several international financiers after encountering difficulties securing funding from Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

The initiative, whose developers and partners are from Canada, Korea, the Middle East, and Barbados, has projected $300 million in earnings for the island and up to 1,000 jobs.

It will be a five-star beach-front residential and brand name hotel development, and as previously proposed would be made up of 15 town houses consisting of 30 units, 240 condominiums, and 100 boutique hotel suites.

Having officially broke ground at an October 26, 2011 ceremony attended by senior Barbados Government and tourism officials, however, Pure Beach management recently told founding members that the Ras al-Khaimah snag “has caused PURE project to fall behind the original schedule”.

“Also, continuous flow of funding for Pure project was interrupted when the RAK funding was made known as many of our joint venture partners in charge of sale of PURE units stopped their sales activities in anticipation of full project funding,” founding members were told in a written update.

“This is why we have re-tooled ourselves with a revised funding strategy for Pure project. Our revised funding strategy is clearly devised for us to simultaneously engage in both the institutional financing and retail funding through joint venture partners network.

“We absolutely believe that this multi-facetted approach helps us to make up the delayed time and make a robust progress on construction.

On the retail front, under our revised strategy, most of our existing joint venture partners have come back to selling Pure units with a renewed commitment and vigour,” it added.

Pure management also said that added to engaging up to five “reputable and productive firms and individuals” to be joint venture partners, the developers were also talking to institutional financiers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Asia.

“As stated, while we face challenges, Pure remains an attractive and viable development project as we pursue institutional financing from several sources that will aid in completion of the project,” partners were told.

The St. Philip project has already received the support of Government officials, including Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, in whose St. Philip South constituency the resort will be built.

“We really want to establish an outstanding quality resort that will bring tremendous benefits to Barbados,” Brathwaite said at the ground breaking ceremony.

The developers had also said that businesses and the wider St. Philip community, including farmers and artisans, would benefit from their presence and Pure Beach Chairman Mark Purai said once the project was complete the island would be welcoming 3,000 “new families”.

“The objective is to bring the community in; the investment is the right place at the right time. We think Barbados has all of the criteria for the clientele (we will attract), with low crime being number one. We are going to build a community here (and) we want to keep it as natural as possible,” Purai said. shawncumberbatch@barbadostoday.bb

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