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US $380 Million Multi-Use Resort for Laborie

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Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony turning the sod for the construction of the new property

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony turning the sod, for the construction of the new property

Thursday, May 12, 2005 - What will become the most sophisticated hotel property in the Eastern Caribbean is due to open in the quiet village of Laborie by March 2007, hopefully in time for Cricket World Cup.

Tuesday May 10th, 2005 saw a sod turning ceremony for Sapphire Cove, a luxurious and exciting resort development scheduled to begin in September 2005.

Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony officiated at the sod-turning ceremony for Sapphire Cove, which will consist of holiday villages, a multi-use resort and spa and a mix of privately owned house, town-houses and condominiums. The investment, which is being undertaken by a group of Irish companies named Premier Corporation, will be worth US$380 million and will comprise just over 3,000 rooms when completed. Some 700 rooms are expected to be ready for Cricket World Cup 2007 and when completed the new multi-use resort will employ some 1,500 persons.

The project will feature luxury condos of various sizes, comprising one-two-and three-bedroom units, family homes and luxury town homes. There are also plans for a 4,000-room international convention facility as well as an 18-hole Golf Course of PGA standard. Also to be featured, will be an Olympic-size swimming pool, a tennis courts, a beach club and a water park. There will also be a concept spa, a beauty salon, a fitness club, a resort guest centre, extensive water sports and children’s play activities, a crèche, gourmet food, bars,

This major development will be located on 130 acres of land in the Sapphire Estate, which has belonged to the Louisy family for the past 90 years. The massive nature of the project was underlined by the Prime Minister, who indicated that at US$380 million, an equivalent of EC$1.26 Billion, “this investment surpasses the entire budget of St. Lucia for this year, which was for EC$957 million.”

He recalled that in January, when The Landing at Rodney Bay was unveiled, it was described as the largest single tourism investment on the island. “Today,” he added, “Sapphire Cove takes that pride of place.”

The Prime Minister said the Sapphire Cove and The Landing, both of which will be of Five Star status, will give the quality of the island’s tourism product “the five star status that we deserve.”

Members of the Louisy Family – including former Prime Minister Sir Allan Louisy -- were on hand at the sod turning ceremony yesterday and gave their blessings to a project they said the family had been hoping for over a very long period. Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Pearce Louisy said they were happy to have finally concluded in quick time an agreement that appeared elusive in the beginning.

The Prime Minister said: “The people of Laborie owe a great debt to the Louisy Family, who could have sold the property a long time ago but insisted that it would only be for a major tourism project.”

The Prime Minister outlined several other major tourism projects currently under way in the North, South, East and West of the island, recalling that their total investment value is also over one billion dollars. “Given all these new tourism developments,” the PM said, “there may very well be shortages of construction labour in St. Lucia in the next two years.’

Also attending and addressing the ceremony on Monday afternoon were: Tourism Minister Honourable Philip J. Pierre, Laborie MP and Minister of Labour Honourable Velon John and Choiseul MP and Minister of Physical Development Honourable Ferguson John. Also in attendance were Social Transformation Minister Honourable Menissa Rambally, Communications & Works Minister Honourable Felix Finisterre, Attorney General Mr. Philip La Corbiniere and Soufriere MP Honourable Walter Francois.

Tom Colton, Chief Financial Officer of Premier Corporation also addressed the sod-turning ceremony, indicating his fellow Irish investors’ commitment to developing the property. He said its location, “with a footprint on a headland overlooking one of the most beautiful views in the Caribbean and with direct access to the Hewanorra International Airport which is ten minutes away” was an excellent choice his company intended to develop in time and according to plan.

NDC General Manager Wayne Vitalis said: “We are delighted that one of the most significant investments is taking place in the south of the island and particularly in the community of Laborie.”

He said the construction of the new highway between Vieux Fort and Soufriere “has paved the way for increasing investments in the south and it will redound to the benefit of the entire southern belt.”

“This is not only an opportunity to create more jobs,” Mr Vitalis said, “but also to create new entrepreneurs to service the multi-use resort.” He concluded: “Now we believe the south is ready to take off as the new investment frontier and with Coconut Bay and Sapphire being the flagships and catalysts, we expect to see more diverse investment and development in the south of the island.”

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