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South Abaco Development Growth Linked to Stable Economy

February 10th, 2011

Residential and commercial real estate developments in South Abaco have expanded steadily over the past two years. Despite the residual effects of the global economic and financial downturn, The Bahamas’ domestic economic conditions stabilized during 2010, with the economy expected to grow by 2% to 2.5% in 2011, according to Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, in his address to the 2011 Bahamas Business Outlook.

The past year clearly demonstrated South Abaco as an environment favorable to the strengthening and diversification of the nation’s economy:

With 90% of its infrastructure complete, Serenity Point’s environmentally friendly residential community is one of the many success stories of economic growth in South Abaco:

The community is designed for luxury using the latest in sustainable technology, with features such as:

  • Design techniques that save energy and preserve water
  • Solar-powered golf carts
  • Indigenous tropical landscaping

OceanHome Magazine highlighted Serenity Point as a Development of the Month, Publisher’s Choice. And The Bahamas Investor covered Serenity Point’s development as an example of the resurgence currently being enjoyed by Abaco—one of the fastest growing islands in The Bahamas.

With work steadily underway at Serenity Point and the neighbouring commercial center of Schooner Bay Village, the community is looking forward to another year of growth and prosperity in South Abaco.

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The Abaconian: South Abaco Growth Is Taking Off

January 17th, 2011

The December 15th Abaconian featured an article by Canishka Alexander about Serenity Point’s November 26 Open House and how Gustaf Hernqvist, senior sales and marketing director for Serenity Point, sees South Abaco’s future.

In general, South Abaco is an area that is really taking off, Gustaf said, as he listed the names of Schooner Bay and Delphi Club Fishing Lodge as well. “You’re looking at Schooner Bay, and they’re feeling that same enthusiasm. You’re looking at Delphi Lodge, which is obviously not a real estate development, but it’s business in general, and they are getting a lot more bookings. It’s just a positive feeling on Abaco,” he beamed. “Some things people may not like and so on, but at the end of the day there’s investment confidence, and that’s what we’re really looking for.”

“Our Open House is a bit of a reflection on that positive energy that we sense is coming out now,” he stated. “I get the same comments from everyone that things are really starting to move.”

Read the Full Article [PDF Page 18].

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Robb Report: Vacation Homes: Sweet Serenity

November 23rd, 2010

This month’s Robb Report features an article by Bailey S. Barnard about luxury resort developments in South Abaco, including Serenity Point.

The Abaco Islands are downright deserted compared with some Bahamian destinations. But over the last few years, the laid-back Abaco chain—a pristine collection of islands and cays in the northeastern Bahamas, about 200 miles off the coast of Florida—has become one of the Caribbean’s hottest locations for luxury resort developments, the latest of which include three exclusive vacation-home communities.

The newest of the Abacos’ private communities, Serenity Point, overlooks a five-mile stretch of beach on the archipelago’s largest island and hub, Great Abaco. The 40-acre community opened sales earlier this year for its 46 inland, hilltop, ocean-view, and beachfront homesites, which range from about a half acre to more than 1.5 acres and are priced from $230,000 to $1.2 million. Buyers can work with their own architect (following community guidelines) or use one of the island-contemporary designs conceived by Chancey Design Partnership of Tampa, Fla., specifically for Serenity Point.

Read the Full Article.

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Abaco’s Development Continues

November 9th, 2010

The latest editions of the Abaconian (PDF) and The Tribune featured lots of exciting news about development in Abaco.

Revised Airport Terminal Plans
Revised airport terminal plans were presented to stakeholders, with a bigger and more expensive terminal than the initial plans. The new airport will be 39,000 square feet, with the terminal accounting for about 32,000 square feet – 10 times the size of the current terminal. It will cost $15 million, an increase of $3 million from the initial plans. The new plans also include 2 restaurants, 4 kiosks, 4 car rental booths, 7 retail areas, and a VIP lounge next to the check-in area. Construction on the terminal starts at the beginning of 2011.

Abaco’s Growth Was Featured at “Business Outlook”
The 7th annual Abaco Business Outlook was held on September 22 on the topic Strengthening Abaco’s Economy. Presenters came from government and the private sectors and all were positive about Abaco’s growth.

  • Plans were revealed for a $12 million shopping mall that will be built near Central Pines in Dundas Town. Construction on the mall will start mid 2011.
  • According to Abaco’s Tourism Minister, Abaco Tourism is working to reduce airfare to Abaco from the United States. He also noted that visitors to Abaco were up 12 percent from the previous year.
  • The Tourism Minister announced that Tourism is employing branding strategy that is designed to set apart each Out Island as its own destination.

Robin Hood’s $30- $40m growth plan
Robin Hood, the popular discount supermarket, has revealed that their expansion plan includes investing a further $30-$40 million over the next four years to expand the retailer’s total Bahamian store portfolio from the current two to six. Sandy Schaefer, in an interview with Tribune Business said, “We’re looking for another four to five acres to build our own shopping center, probably somewhere in the south … Our logical next step will be Abaco.”

Family Islands Transport Enhancement Project launched
The Bahamas Government in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) officially launched the Family Islands Transport Enhancement Project during the opening ceremony for a workshop for stakeholders on October 14. Part of the project includes a technical assistance grant of $37,000 from CDB to facilitate preparation of feasibility studies and designs for new commercial ports in Abaco and a road link between Little and Great Abaco.

Progress continues at Schooner Bay
Phase One of Schooner Bay is well underway. In particular, the excavation of two large basins is complete. One will be used to provide the community fresh water and the other will be used as a composting heap for The Commons (Schooner Bay’s agricultural sector) and residential landscaping. Other developments include the harbor opening to the ocean in Winter 2011, and a local artist, Antonius Roberts is working to develop an art center. He is hoping to create an interest in art and maybe even encourage art tourism in Abaco.

Broad Creek Restoration Project
Friends of the Environment partnered with Dr. Craig Layman and his research team from Florida International University to restore a vital tidal creek and wetland area near Serenity Point. A total of 510 students and adults assisted in reclaiming approximately 28 acres of wetlands that had been fragmented by the road.

This project would not have been possible without the generosity of Ministry of Works, Big Cat, Adele and Timmy McDonald, The Nature Conservancy, Schooner Bay, and Serenity Point. The participation of FIU was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Overall, excellent, positive news about Abaco’s growth.

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Growth and Prosperity in Abaco

September 15th, 2010

Abaco’s growth and prosperity continue to climb in yet another noteworthy series of development milestones.

Airlift acquisition targets Out Islands
Bahamas Tribune
US-based AvStar Aviation is hoping to open up airlift to Abaco from West Palm Beach by year-end, in a bid to expand the operations of recently-acquired Twin Air Calypso, which has serviced the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale for more than 50 years … the new service—frequently travelled by West Palm and Abaco residents—could deliver 100 individuals to Abaco four days per week through scheduled service.

Abaco to get community hospital
The Freeport News
The Ministry of Health is placing greater focus on the medical needs of family island patients and plans to construct two new state-of-the-art community hospitals on Abaco and Exuma. The community hospital on Abaco will make it much easier for residents to gain access to medical care and in many cases, avoid having to travel to New Providence.

Maxwell’s Grocery re-opens in Marsh Harbour
Bahama Islands Info
When the popular Maxwell’s Grocery burned down on the night of July 21st 2008 many wondered if this was the end. But on August 13th a brand-new, sparkling, and spacious Maxwell’s re-opened in Marsh Harbour to rave reviews.

38% Crown Land revenue increase
Bahamas Tribune
“The Parcel Information Management System (PIMS) is fully being implemented and will contribute to the efficient functioning of the local land markets in support of private sector development, including facilitation of foreign investment, thereby contributing directly to the objectives of the bank’s strategy for the Bahamas,” the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said. “Geographic profiles of Andros, Inagua and Abaco represent a good point of departure for land use and natural resources management.”

Travel Off the Cuff – Expect the Unexpected on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island
The Province
Like fly-fishing southern Alberta’s Bow River, flats fishing off Great Abaco, the Bahamas’ third-largest island, is also world class, says avid Calgary fly fisherman Dave Byler … Excellent fishing is just one reason the retired Suncor Energy vice-president and wife Carol decided to invest in emerging Schooner Bay Harbour Village in southern Great Abaco.

Contract signed for architectural design of Marsh Harbour Airport Terminal
Nassau Guardian
Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant signed a $600,000 contract with the Architects Incorporated Company for the architectural design of the Marsh Harbour Airport terminal building and fire/crash facility. The current 3,315 square foot building will be replaced with a new 24,000 square foot single-storey terminal and fire crash facility immediately west of the existing terminal.

Walker’s Cay dream gets green light as Bahamas Investment Authority approves plans
Bahamas Island Info
A multi-million dollar bid to revive the once-famed Walker’s Cay fishing and diving resort, which would create “a minimum” of 200 jobs for Bahamians, has been approved by the Bahamas Investment Authority.

Furniture Plus announces the opening of its beautiful third home in Abaco
Bahama Islands Info
The walls are freshly painted. The furniture boutiques are all in place. Shiny rows of appliances stand at attention. And the doors to the newest Furniture Plus location at Maxwell’s Plaza in Marsh Harbour are open … With all newly-hired Abaconians manning the richly appointed 20,000 square foot showroom and shoppers excitedly streaming in, there is no sign of an economic downturn anywhere to be seen.

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Bahamas Real Estate Ranked Top 20 Globally

September 1st, 2010

Chancey Partnership Design Home: Deck and Pool“A long-term investment in Bahamian real estate is considered one of the best options in the world, as the country is listed as one of the top 20 places to purchase property,” reports Jammal Smith, in the Guardian.

GlobalPropertyGuide.com, one of the largest real estate websites, notes that Bahamian advantages include a “stable economy and government, pro-landlord rental market, minimal property taxation and moderate rental yields.”

The Bahamas is the only Caribbean nation to receive a four-star rating on long-term investments.

The country, renowned for its celebrity crowd, including Shakira, Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey and Eddie Murphy, reports the most athletes and other famous individuals purchasing homes in the country.

Former President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association William Wong notes that the country is an ideal location for potential home buyers because of its location, “it’s next door to North America and [not far] from New York and Toronto.”

An estimated 200,000 passengers pass through the Marsh Harbour airport every year, and more is expected as the new architectural design and expansion are brought to completion.

The Marsh Harbour airport project follows completion of a new 6,100 ft jet runway, conversion of the original runway into a jet taxi-way, and installation of new signage and lighting.

Infrastructure developments as well as real estate developments continue to stimulate more interest from foreign investors and tourism-related construction projects.

Related articles:
•  The Bahamas Investor

Multi-million Dollar Abaco Development Opens

Investment Incentives for Canadians Buying Luxury Property in the Bahamas

Bahamas and Canada Sign Tax Information Exchange Agreement

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Style At Home: Buying Vacation Property Abroad

August 17th, 2010

This month, StyleAtHome.com is helping readers learn what to consider when buying vacation property abroad through a focus on Serenity Point.

Serenity Point Main Entrance

Read the full article: Style at Home, “Buying vacation property abroad” by Lauren McPhillips.

Buying vacation property abroad

Summers in Canada are associated with cottage life and living by the water — but what happens when summer turns to winter?

A minority of us plow cottage roads or winterize our summer houses, but many of us do a few jaunts to sunny destinations throughout the snowy months, and a growing number of Canadians are actually buying second properties abroad.

The planned community [at Serenity Point in Abaco, Bahamas] is nothing short of fabulous — buying a property here would make anyone feel like they are on an eternal vacation. So whether you’re buying the land for a winter escape or as a retirement property, Serenity Point is a place of relaxation and island-living — a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Create your dream home on the beach

Customization is a priority for home owners, and it should be no different for your vacation home.

One of the great things about the homes at Serenity Point is that they are custom designed to your liking. The developers have combined forces with Chancey Design Partnership to allow buyers to design their dream home on the beach. Whether you have a budget or want all the luxuries they have to offer, the designers create a space that works for your lifestyle.

Home Design by Walt Chancey

Equally important when considering buying vacation property abroad is access to amenities.

Serenity Point, a 40-acre gated community on Schooner Bay Beach, offers miles of pristine beach, tennis courts, a club house, a neighboring village full of restaurants and other services, plus all the amenities of home.

Style At Home writer Lauren McPhillips rightly recommends that readers research things like water treatment, internet access, air conditioning, and other needed amenities. Many islands have less than favorable services, but Serenity Point offers all the necessities and plenty of luxuries — personal chefs, bone fishing, pre-arrival shopping service, private golf lessons, and a maid/butler service to name a few.

McPhillips’ 5 Things to Consider When Buying Vacation Property Abroad include:

1. Chose Your Location.
Off the beaten path, with plenty of activities, Abaco is only a 50 minute flight from the coast of Florida, making it a quick escape.

2. Research amenities.
Know what home utilities are available, including internet access, but also consider your day-to-day needs. Abaco’s international airports, international banking services, hospitals, gas stations, markets, and schools make Abaco one of the top 20 global real estate markets.

3. Understand the culture.
For example, on Abaco there is an intense respect for natural resources, “a factor that the Serenity Point developers have taken into consideration through working around vegetation and natural sand dunes when building.”

4. Work within your budget.
Vacation property on Abaco ranges in value on the island from $200,000 USD to $1 million plus. As a luxury property, Serenity Point prices depend on the home site location: beach front, ridge, or hilltop.

5. Maintenance.
Be sure to take into account year-round maintenance care, including the costs of gardening, lawn care, housecleaning and damage control.

Read the full article at StyleAtHome.com for all the details.

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Road less traveled: Abaco Islands

August 11th, 2010

The latest mention of Serenity Point appeared over the weekend in Road less traveled: Abaco Islands: Where Bahama mamas and papas go to relax by Ruth Bashinsky (NY Daily News, Sunday, August 8th 2010).

South Abaco Shoreline

Abaco, the third largest island in the Bahamas and the sailing capital of the world, is a prime destination for Bahamians looking to relax.

The 120-mile-long coastline, 20,000-acre nature preserve, and 17 Blue Holes makes Abaco a perfect destination for boaters, scuba divers, snorkelers, fishing enthusiasts, bird lovers and beachgoers. There is no shortage of short-term rentals, but for seasonal residents, second-home buyers and those looking for a permanent home in a safe, relaxed environment, South Abaco is a prime real estate location.

In addition to  Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a Ritz Carlton facility,  The Delphi Club, a new luxury bone-fishing lodge built in the style of an 18th-century plantation, and Schooner Bay Village, an urban, eco-friendly harbor village, there is Serenity Point.

Serenity Point Main Road

Another project gaining attention is the eco-friendly Serenity Point, a private beachfront community located on Schooner Bay Beach and developed by Canadian real estate magnate Alexis Nihon 2nd.  The multimillion dollar project includes 46 homesites built on beach, ridge or hilltop sites that start at $230,000. The exclusive community not only offers spectacular sunrise and sunset views but, a full-service beach clubhouse, an infinity pool, tennis courts and a concierge service that include private chefs, butlers, yacht charters and fishing trips.

Read the Full Article…

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Diving the Blue Holes of Abaco: The Cascade Room

August 6th, 2010

NatGeoBHIn January, Serenity Point published “Diving the Blue Holes of Abaco” about the fossil discovery in 2004 that led National Geographic to fund an exploration of Abaco’s blue holes and caves. Now the August 2010 issue of National Geographic reveals their most recent research and photography from their exploration.

The numerous caves and sinkholes in the Bahamas, and especially on Abaco, occasionally reach depths of 300 feet, representing the lowest sea level from the Pleistocene Ice Age. They yield a scientific trove that may even shed light on life before this time. Yet they are extremely dangerous to explore due to the depths.

The PHOTO OF THE MONTH by Wes C. Skiles, from the August 2010 story “Bahamas Caves.”

201010720_lead-cave2

The Cascade Room, some 80 feet beneath the surface, leads divers deeper into Dan's Cave on Abaco Island.

On Abaco alone, there are at least 17 caves and blue holes that the Bahamian Government seeks to protect.

Dan’s cave
Ralph’s Cave
Nancy’s Cave
Sawmill Sink
Reel Breaker Blue Hole
Starfish Blue Hole 1
Starfish Blue Hole 2
Glen’s Blue Hole North
Glen’s Blue Hole South
Quarry Blue Hole
Crossing Rocks Blue Hole
Little Vortex Blue Hole
Canal Blue Hole
Unfu-fu Blue Hole
Nowhere Blue Hole
Stingray Blue Hole
Stumble Blue Hole

To get a sense of diving a Blue Hole, watch Marc Laukien’s 16 minute video of cave diving in Dan’s Cave and Ralph’s Cave, Abaco, Bahamas.

The Crystal Caves of Abaco from Marc Laukien on Vimeo.

You can also watch World champion freediver Guillaume Nery make a special dive at Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world filmed entirely on breath hold by the french champion Julie Gautier.

Related Articles:

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Bahamas and Canada Sign Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA)

July 27th, 2010

bahamas-canada

Canadian companies have an added incentive to set up regional headquarters in The Bahamas thanks to a new Tax Information Exchange Agreement signed on Thursday, June 17, 2010.

Signatories to the TIEA were Mr. Symonette and His Excellency Stephen Hallihan, High Commissioner for Canada to The Bahamas, in a ceremony at the House of Assembly Majority Room.

It was the 22nd tax information exchange agreement signed by The Bahamas; 16 with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries and 9 with members of the G20 countries. This one is a little different in that it contains elements similar to that of a double tax agreement which nations with income taxes generally sign.

“Signing the TIEA, Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette said: ‘Once this agreement enters into force it will extend exempt surplus treatment to dividends paid to a Canadian parent corporation by its foreign affiliates resident and carrying on business in The Bahamas, allowing such dividends to be exempted from tax in Canada'” (The Bahamas Weekly).

The new Agreement is one of many longstanding economic links between The Bahamas and Canada, and is one of the best in terms of providing reciprocal economic and trade benefits, particularly in financial services, tourism, construction and the hospitality sectors. It also places the country on equal footing with Barbados in terms of “double tax” benefits.

Currently, major Canadian-owned banks, especially FirstCaribbean, have their regional headquarters domiciled in Barbados, largely because of that nation’s “double tax” treaty with their homeland. The treaty ensures their profits are only taxed once – at the lower Barbadian rate – rather than at the higher Canadian thresholds, and has acted as a major draw for Canadian companies seeking to do business in the region to establish their bases there. (The Tribune)

High Commissioner to Canada Stephen Hallihan said, “Canada is very pleased to be signing this exchange agreement with The Government of The Bahamas. It will, quite simply, make our taxation regimes more transparent, more effective and it will allow both countries to actually more effectively implement the tax systems that we have in place” (The Bahamas Weekly).

The Bahamas has previous Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the United States of America, Principality of Monaco, Republic of San Marino, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and People’s Republic of China, Argentina, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Mexico, Denmark, The Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Australia, and Germany.

And, on the same day of the signing of the TIEA, the Bahamas financial services industry held a briefing for its members on the latest development and amendments to The Bahamas and United States TIEA Act and Regulations, namely:

  • The International Tax Cooperation Act, 2010
  • The International Tax Cooperation Regulations, 2010
  • The Bahamas and the United States Tax Information Exchange Agreement (Amendment) Act, 2010
  • The Bahamas and the United States Tax Information Exchange Agreement (Amendment) Regulations, 2010

The Government of The Bahamas’ expanding network for tax information exchange proves The Bahamas’ ability to benefit from the changing global regulatory environment and enjoy continued growth in its international business industry.

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