Beach Club gets half-year respite

The downturn in the economy has won another respite for the Beach Club Colony on Seven Mile Beach.

The all-inclusive resort was initially scheduled for demolition last summer, and then in spring this year, to make way for a new ultra-luxury condominium development.

The condominium development’s broker Kim Lund said the pre-sales period for the new venture, called Water Colours, had been extended until the end of this year.

‘Because of the slow market, we are going to pre-sell for an additional six months more than we had planned,’ he said.

‘It was going to be knocked down at the end of February or beginning of March, but we decided we would pre-sell until fall to lock in some more sales.

‘At the end of this year, we’ll start construction, probably towards the end of September.’

Water Colours is a joint-venture development between the land owner and developer Fraser Wellon of Cayman Overseas Group. Mr. Wellon was the developer behind another luxury condo development on Seven Mile Beach, Water’s Edge.

About 30 per cent of the three- and four-bedroom beachfront luxury units in Water Colours had been pre-sold, and Mr. Lund said he hoped to sell two or three more before the development undergoes construction.

He said the build-out period was usually a minimum of two years and that buyers would likely be able to take up occupancy by winter of 2011/2012.

Developer Mr. Wellon said he was pleased with the pre-sale rate of 30 per cent pre-sales. ‘This is definitely enough for us to continue as planned. As any new development, we would always welcome additional secured units, but this will not influence our decision to move forward,’ he said.

Prices for properties in the six-storey Water Colours range from US$4 million to US$5.5 million.

The project is due to break ground in the last quarter of 2009.

Manager of Beach Club Colony Padraic Linane said no closure date has been set for the hotel and it is still taking bookings, although so far had not had any bookings for Christmas.

The hotel’s reservation department is giving rates for the summer season but tells callers that it is too early for rates to be set for Christmas.

‘We are operating as usual at the moment. Until further notice, we don’t have a close-by date,’ Mr. Linane said.

Reports of the hotel’s impending closure have attracted residents of Cayman to check into the hotel on lower residents’ rates and some were returning each weekend.

‘We were winding down but when people heard we were closing, there were a lot of on-island guests checking into the hotel… we have quite a few regular guests every weekend now,’ he said.