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BARBADOS - real estate

Millennium Heights 'The Lake' ahead of schedule

Monday 29, March-2004
by Wendy Burke

THERE WAS A DELAY IN the project along the way, but by May the first set of houses in The Lake, the second phase of Millennium Heights, should be completed.

David Staples, managing director of Fairways Development, the company responsible for the project, said the 20 units would all be on the market within the next ten months, and half of them already had serious buying interests.

The market is good now, according to the engineer. “People are very specific in what they are looking for. In terms of this market, it is mostly the locals with the empty-nester syndrome; people are retired, their children are gone, they don’t want the hassle of mowing the lawn. There are a lot of professionals who have come in and are looking to buy,” Staples said.

He added that of the 12 three-bedroom units sold so far, only two of them were taken by non-nationals. The townhouses are on 2 100 square feet of space, with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a media room which could be converted to a fourth bedroom or home office.

Staples said there was a long pause between the completion of Phase 1, the Residences at Millennium Heights, and the start-up of this phase, The Lake at Millennium.

He said the reason for this was strategic, as the market needed some breathing room, after the building boom which ended in 1999, which saw a number of high-end, high-rise properties such as Margate, The Ridge, Gunsite and others.

“Right now there is little under construction; so as the market has absorbed that demand, demand and supply have come back into balance. We try to balance the availability of land and the cost of land,” he said.

When questioned about whether or not the proximity to a village had in any way hampered the sale of the self-contained units, Staples replied that the nature of Barbadian living was such that almost everyone came from a village, and this was one of the only places he has been in the world where the rich and famous felt at home socialising with, and dwelling among the locals.

“You have Lord somebody build a $20 million house and right next to them is a very humble and hardworking fellow in chattel house and they get on like “house on fire”. The beauties of the social mix . . . and that ability to integrate people of different social and economic status. Look at the West Coast tourists, they are never happier than when they are at Crocs, rubbing shoulders with real people, and the rum is going, and that’s why they come,” stressed Staples.

He added that John Paul Getty, the fifth richest man in the world liked to go to Marshall’s Bar (Mother Cat) because he was treated like everyone else.

However, this is not to say that the proximity to the nearby village may not have prevented some people from buying one of the townhouses.

In relation to the costs associated with building, he believes land prices will continue to soar, especially on the West Coast, with only the central areas of St George and St Thomas levelling out. “Those prices have actually come down since the late 1990’s and seem to be stabilising. You can still get land at $8 per square foot, but you are more likely to get it at $12 to $14 per square foot depending on the size of the land and location.” He added that certain parts of the market would always be in demand, like on a cliff front.

The name, The Lake, was chosen because there is a descent in the land, which forms a natural water catchment area, which the developers will fill for aesthetic appeal, and also as a water reserve for irrigation.

“There will be a slight fluctuation in the dry season but in the rainy season, it will come back up. There will be fish in it to treat the mosquito larvae, and we will be treating it as well,” he said.

The water to fill the lake will be collected from the rooftops of stage one of Millennium Heights.

Homeowners at The Lake units, which are on the market for between BDS$830 000 to BDS$880 000 will have access to the amenities at Millennium, such as the gym, clubhouse, walking track and swimming pool. Fairways Development is very pleased with the project and construction is now ahead of schedule.

It is hoped that by 2006, the complete Millennium Heights development, with all phases should be completed, as long as the financial picture remains as liquid as it currently is.

Compliments of the Nation News


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