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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS-A trio of developers that acquired the Grace Bay Club at the southern tip of the Bahamas last year have completed a renovation of the hotel and are now awaiting the necessary pre-sales to launch a condominium project adjacent the resort.

John Fair, Mark Durliat, and Jerry Landeck acquired the small luxury hotel for about $12 million in early 2002 and began a $35-million upgrade program that includes the renovation of the hotel and the 38-unit ultra-luxury condominium development, which is slated to break ground in September and be complete by December 2004.

The Turks & Caicos are a group of more than 40 islands and cays known for their snorkeling and diving. “We studied intimately the success of the Caymen Islands and found that all the ingredients present in those markets were present here, but at a younger age,” Durliat tells GlobeSt.com. “There is a very transparent legal structure, title is guaranteed by the British government, there is a good banking industry, it’s a U.S. dollar economy and there is excellent airlift, including jet access.”

Moreover, says Durliat, major travel and leisure magazines have been featuring the Turks & Caicos islands over the past few years, causing tourism arrivals to grow by an annual average of 15% over the past four years. “Since Sept. 11, it has been one of the few growth markets in the Caribbean,” says Durliat, whose group of investors who own a host of residential and commercial product in Utah, Colorado and Arizona and recently developed Esperanza, a small luxury hotel in Cabo San Lucas.

As a part of their “integrated resort” concept at Grace Bay, the developers also will add a European Spa and fitness center; an on-the-beach pool; a reception and entry court; and an expansion of the beachfront Anacaona restaurant with a second restaurant and poolside grill.

Grace Bay includes 12 miles of beachfront. San Francisco-based resort architect Gordon Pierce of Resort Design Associates and interior designer Margaret Shannon of Margaret Shannon Designs were hired to oversee the new design and master plan of the resort and villas.

Each five-story condo building will have nearly 50 feet of ocean frontage; private ocean view balconies off the master bedroom and second bedrooms and living/dining room; expansive glass sliding doors; 9′ ceilings; open kitchens with granite counter tops and elegant fixtures, finishes and appliances; walk-in showers and separate baths.

Ranging from 2,100 sf to 3,700 sf, the two- and three-bedroom condos are priced from $850,000 to $1.5 million. Full-floor penthouse units with panoramic ocean views are priced between $1.8 million and $2.25 million. There will be 14 two-bedroom villas, 20 three-bedroom villas and four three-bedroom Penthouses. Durliat says 35% of the units have been sold.

“It’s quite a buoyant market; three years ago there were $70-million in condo sales and this year it is expected to top $100 million,” says Durliat. “There is significant competition, but it’s all low density and in limited quantities, and we have the distinguishing feature of having an existing brand-name presence and marketing infrastructure.”

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