Grace Bay condos ….. like living in a screensaver
The opening of Club Med on Providenciales in 1984 was really the first step in introducing Grace Bay to the world. With an incredible 12 miles of white sand beach flanked by crystal clear waters it embodies the perfect sun holiday. Over the past 18 years in the islands (the last 13 spent selling real estate) one comment I hear more than any other is that Grace Bay is incredible. The international press has caught on and this little stretch of land is now at, or near the top, of practically every list of “best beaches” – most recently CNN rated it the top beach this side of the Atlantic (June 2013 – World’s 100 Best Beaches).
The marketability of the location made Grace Bay the center of resort and condo development in these islands – condo developers could sell from plans and build with pre-construction purchase monies.
Ocean Club Resort led the way on a 7 acre beachfront site directly across the road from what is now the Provo Golf Club. The development was completed in late 1995. In a market where each subsequent development was billed as being fancier than the last, Ocean Club’s elegant simplicity is now central to its appeal – it delivers the “Caribbean experience” the way you remember it, informal yet stylish – a friendly place where you are equally at home sipping Champagne or Corona. Ocean Club’s developer extended this successful theme in 2001 opening Ocean Club West about 3/4 of a mile down the beach. With a combined total of 175 suites Ocean Club Resorts remains the largest associated condo-resort operation on the beach.
By the time Ocean Club West was completed the condo-resort development boom on Provo was well underway. Between 2000 and 2009 at least one major condo resort opened each year in central Grace Bay: Point Grace (2000); The Sands at Grace Bay (2001); Royal West Indies and Villa Renaissance (2002); Le Vele (2003); the Regent Palms (2004); The Villas at Grace Bay Club (2005); The Somerset (2006); and The Seven Stars (2007). As the cost of the underlying real estate rose so did building heights, and luxury finishes became de rigueur. If luxury is what you seek you will find it tastefully presented on Grace Bay.
Those were good years for developers and purchasers alike. However, when the final phase of the 10 acre, 139 suite Alexandra Resort & Spa was completed in 2008 the local real estate market was slowing along with the US economy and new buyers were becoming more scarce. For the next 3 years an increasing number of condo sales involved distressed properties which had the affect of dragging down comparable sales figures. Even now, after 2 years of steadily increasing sales activity, there are still some developer units remaining in the newer buildings at the Alexandra Resort at preconstruction prices, and there are still a few distressed condos for sale by lenders in other developments along the beach which are aggressively priced.
There is an old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats which is often true in relation to real estate. While that view should serve “lifestyle” real estate purchasers well, the few remaining properties that are listed at significantly reduced prices are also certainly worthy of investors’ attention given the direction of the market.
Resort condos are not for everyone, of course. Owners spending more of the year in the islands don’t need a rental program and are more likely to settle for fewer services and amenities in exchange for lower maintenance fees. There are three residential developments on Grace Bay – The Mansions (completed in 1997); The Grandview on Grace Bay (completed in 2002) and The Pinnacle (completed in 2004). Each deserves honorable mention for architecture, landscaping and the serene living environments afforded to the residents. See if you can spot them the next time you are on Grace Bay.
As you walk along the beach in front of these elegant developments you may wonder about the type of people who own them. They’re just like you and me, people who visited, fell in love with this magical spot and decided to buy.
“…..the idea is to take things easy and enjoy the passing time under the sun.”
Herman Wouk – Don’t Stop The Carnival