|Coconut Cove begins $5.5M makeover|
Guardian Business Editor
Published: Jun 27, 2012
A U.S. developer has started demolition work on the Coconut Cove Hotel in Exuma, pouring $750,000 into the resort after spending that much acquiring the beachfront property.
"It was in bad shape," said John McGarvey from the U.S. "But the location was always great. It's close to Georgetown, accessible to the airport, and it has a great view over to Stocking Island. That's why we were hot after the place."
Abandoned for months, the 12-room hotel in Exuma is now receiving a total face-lift.
McGarvey is renovating the kitchen, common areas and refurbishing every room, bringing it up to a four-star standard. The restaurant, however, is intended to be five-star quality, he said.
The developer explained that he decided to renovate the property first "to get it onto the market quickly".
He believes Exuma should experience a banner year next winter, pointing to rising awareness for the destination, improved airlift, and increased foreign investment on the island. McGarvey's master plan is to double the number of rooms at the hotel within three years and invest up to $4 million in the property.
"We'll have two stories, up to 24 rooms, and balconies. It will double in size," he told Guardian Business. "With the new plan, we can then get more density, but with better views. I want them all to be beachfront. We are hoping to accomplish this within three years."
Between the hotel purchase and renovations, McGarvey will have already spent approximately $1.4 million by the time it opens, bringing his total envisioned expenditure, three years down the road, to around $5.5 million.
"For the first phase, we are hoping by early September to have a soft opening. We want to be open fully by Thanksgiving or Christmas," he added.
Judy Hurlock, a top realtor in Exuma, said demolition started "as soon as they got the keys". She said the importance of having a previously abandoned and deteriorating property up and running again is incalculable for the island.
"It's just not good to see these businesses closed," Hurlock noted. "It makes such a difference seeing these hotels up and running. It gives the island so much more life. It also gives prospective investors more confidence."
Indeed, McGarvey is joining a couple of notable investors that have recently staked their claim.
Eddie Irvine, a former Formula 1 driver, is investing heavily in the Exuma Yacht Club after purchasing it last year. Peter Nicholson, a Canadian, ended the receivership at the luxurious Grand Isle Resort & Spa on Emerald by purchasing 31 villas. He is now selling off the homes, which rest just down the beach from the Sandals resort, to international investors, .
The new government announced its intention to bring on a number of duty exemptions on building materials and heavy equipment, according to its 2012/2013 Budget Communication, which has the potential to spark even more foreign investment.
"I see Exuma as very much just coming on board now. I think you went through the cycle of the Four Seasons there before its time," McGarvey said.
"I'm just another person pulling on the rope. I love competition and we're all striving to be better."
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:03|