$25M project features farm centerpiece
Guardian Business Reporter
Published: May 01, 2013
A $25 million housing development is presently under construction in Eleuthera with a pineapple farm as its centerpiece.
Pineapple Hills, located in Gregory Town, is marketing itself as a unique 45-acre project.
Stephen Wrinkle, its developer, revealed that the development rests on generational property. A decision was made several years ago to develop it primarily for second-home ownership.
The development encompasses 25 lots ranging from 1.5 acres to 2.5 acres. Wrinkle confirmed that to date 10 of those lots have been sold and two houses are under construction.
During construction, Wrinkle projects between 15 to 20 people working on each house.
“It’s a very beautiful location because it’s near the North Eleuthera airport, only 15 minutes away. You can go to Governors Harbour, Harbour Island or Hatchet Bay. It’s very centrally located. We’ve got two lovely beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, and with the nice elevation that Gregory Town has, we’ve got 150-foot elevation there so we can have sea to sea views,” he shared.
“We are putting a roof on one of the homes now and we are starting the foundation of another one. We’ll have a couple of them up this year, maybe three of them up this year. We have got all of the underground utilities, which are completed. We’ve started to get into the thick of the build-out now and hopefully as the economy rebounds so will the financing for property owners to build homes. The development’s built out value is probably in the neighborhood of $25 million.”
The developer noted that construction has been a bit slower than normal. Several people have bought lots but held off on building, he said.
He pointed out that development on Pineapple Hills began in 2007 and the pineapple farm is undoubtedly the focal point. He estimated that tens of thousands of dollars has been pumped into the farm to get it up and running.
“We’ve got about 30,000 pineapple plants in the ground now. The difficulty of course is sustainability and being able to deliver the product month after month. Pineapples are seasonal, primarily June and July. This year, it looks like we may be harvesting in May because of the rains that we had earlier in the year. A two- to three-month harvest season is basically what we get out of the pineapples currently. It’s difficult to get into food stores or the supply chain because it really is an exotic fruit,” he explained.
“We have put in a substantial amount to get the farm up to the standard it is. I would say tens of thousands of dollars. It is also the centerpiece of the development. We are getting ready to harvest pineapples in the next few weeks. With a little bit of luck, we’ll have a good harvest.”
In addition to pineapples, Wrinkle told Guardian Business that the farm also has sugar cane, soursop, citrus, scarlet and hog plums and bananas. Guests can enjoy a variety of indigenous fruits and vegetables.
Last week, Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle said at Eleuthera’s inaugural Business Outlook that the island’s economy is beginning to show signs of growth with the rise of new resorts and foreign direct investment (FDI).