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[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK YORK-Locally based ING Clarion Partners LLC will partner with Grupo Carrousel and Operadora Punta Maroma to develop a new $150 million–excluding land–ultra luxury ocean front resort on Bahia Maroma along Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The project will include an 86-villa, ultra-luxury hotel from Capella Hotels and Resorts. Bob Baer, CEO of DTZ Rockwood Asociados, an advisor to ING Clarion on this transaction, tells GlobeSt.com that the total resort square footage for the indoor areas will be approximately 650,000 sf.

[IMGCAP(2)]Baer says that the Mexican local debt finance market has not been significantly impacted by the US sub prime crisis. “Mexican banks continue to provide financing for quality projects.”

The 254-acre site acquired for the project is located 30 minutes south of the Cancun Airport and 15 miles north of Playa del Carmen, and includes approximately one mile of prime beachfront property. As envisioned, according to a prepared statement, the development will incorporate 127 residential units, an 18-hole Rees Jones signature golf course, and a clubhouse, in addition to the hotel.

Baer tells GlobeSt.com that the hotel is expected to reach a total of 211,000 sf, the beach club will consist of 43,000 sf, the golf club house will be 10,000 sf, the gate house will be 2,700 sf, each of the 127 residential units will be approximately 3,015 sf, and the total for the residential units will be around approximately 383,000 sf.

The project is to be built out in four phases beginning with the construction of the Capella Hotel, which will provide the anchor for the development. The facility will be designed and built jointly with Capella Hotels and Resorts. The Capella Bahia Maroma Hotel will include a spa, beach club, and three unique restaurants. Phase one is expected to be completed this coming winter, and will include the golf course. Baer says that phase two will include 35 residential units, and is expected to be completed June 2009, followed by phase three, which will include 77 residential units to be completed by Dec. 2009. Phase four will consist of 15 fractional units, and is expected to be completed June 2010.

“Grupo Carrousel has been a pioneer in the development of Cancun and brings tremendous vision to this project,” says James Hendricks, managing director at ING Clarion, in a prepared statement. He noted that the Grupo Carrousel had owned this parcel of land for more than 10 years. “We are pleased to be able to partner with someone who has such great experience in the market.”

Quality beachfront properties have become scarce, with Grupo Carrousel’s land as one of the few remaining attractive large parcels, Baer says. Its location along Mexico’s east coast places it within a three to five hour plane trip from major US wealth and population centers.

The property and the development will be positioned to take advantage of a number of favorable economic and demographic trends, including demand for luxury resort travel and second home real estate, and a desire on the part of Baby Boomers to devote a portion of their resources to leisure time in a service-rich environment. Baer tells GlobeSt.com that “Capella is designed to attract the top 2% of high-end travelers.”

Baer says that “one mile of beachfront, low density and private golf course truly unique aspects of this project in the Riviera Maya. These are incomparable amenities in a privileged location.” With Capella on board, the partnership plans to make this new development one of the great destination spots for luxury vacation travelers as well as for those individuals attracted to the region as a location for a second home.

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