The future Starwood boutique hotel in South Eleuthera is surrounded by Cotton Bay Estates.
A total of 114 estate lots are available to potential second home owners, starting at US$750,000 per lot.
Here is my story of how I got involved in this...
My wife and I are home owners on Eleuthera. So, I wanted to see this largest and most exclusive of all Eleuthera real estate developments and contacted the General Manager.
Wim Steenbakkers is Managing Director of Cotton Bay Estates & Villas. I met him on the building site, 5 miles south of Rock Sound in South Eleuthera where he gave me an extensive tour. What I noticed in particular is that he kept showing me how environmentally friendly construction is being done on this 200 acre site. The native plants are handled with great care.
Here now is what Wim told me about how South Eleuthera will be put back on the map again after 2009. It was on the map before but that's a while back when PanAm founder Juan Trippe first discovered this area.
Here's Wim Steenbakkers standing on one of the beach front lots of Cotton Bay Estates.
We are looking north. This is the Atlantic side the breezier, cooler one of the two sides of Eleuthera.
Wim is Dutch. He has developed several unique European style properties, including Château du Sureau, near Yosemite National Park.
Interviewer: Wim, please tell me about your project Cotton Bay Estates & Villas. I don't mean the hotel part which are the villas, but the Estates part.
Wim: The 114 estate lots are situated around the Starwood boutique hotel complex. 70% of the 114 lots are south of the Clubhouse in the center and 30% of the lots are north of it.
Lot sizes range from 2/3 of an acre to 1½ acres.
The town of Rock Sound is just 5.5 miles north of the new Cotton Bay Estates & Villas development.
Interviewer: In how many phases will your project be built and what does each phase encompass?
Wim: There will be at least three phases.
Above I have mentioned Phase 1, Cotton Bay Estates & Villas which we are doing right now (February 2006). That's the 200 acres with the Starwood Clubhouse, villas and the 114 estate lots.
Phase 2 most likely will be a Golf Course that we are planning right now with another golf course community - meaning a number of homes - as well as another hotel product. It may be something like a Wellness Center or a Spa.
Phase 3 will be the marina at Davis Harbour a little further south.
Interviewer: And what are the advantages to foreign investors to own one of the 114 lots?
Wim: First of all it's accelerated consideration for permanent residency if you invest over 500'000 US$ in the Bahamas. And that's very attractive to many foreigners. You know, the Bahamas is a very tax benevolent country. There are all kinds of tax advantages.
On the other hand and in comparison with other countries, The Bahamas is an English speaking country. The Bahamian dollar is at par with the US dollar and the government is politically stable. Most important is the fact that the geographic location is ideal for US citizens. Florida is only one hour away by air.
Here are some more advantages to owning a villa or an estate:
Interviewer: What does South Eleuthera as an area offer to foreign second home owners?
Wim: It's pristine. It is just like the article this last weekend in New York Times says... "You are going back in time". You know, it's pure tranquility, it's beautiful nature. You don't come here to go to the casinos and find all the restaurants. No, here you will find tranquility and privacy and absolutely spectacular beaches.
Sport fishing for example is the greatest... you know that. It's on par with Abaco in the northern Bahamas. And then don't forget the scuba diving and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters around Eleuthera.
Interviewer: For what kind of investor would it be a good idea to purchase one or several of the Cotton Bay Estates lots?
Wim: It would really be for people who want a second home and who want to spend some of their time over here. Our resort would also be a good idea for people with large families or a great number of friends who could use their homes.
Our services will always be available to keep homes in perfect shape and ready before the guests arrive.
Cotton Bay Estates is also ideal for people who want to design their own homes, who have their own architect.
Interviewer: Will your company Cotton Bay Developer Limited build homes on any of the 114 lots if land owners so desire?
Wim: We provide a turn-key service to people who purchase lots as far as construction management is concerned. The buyer will have an architect who will design the plan for the home and we'll take it from there. We will build the entire home for the buyer.
Interviewer: What are the architectural guidelines or limitations for lot owners who choose their own architect?
Wim: This is quite extensive. We have written up a document of 20 pages that is available to prospective lot owners.
Scroll to the bottom of this page to request Architectural Guidelines from Wim.
Wim: But again, the whole idea is to create a community which means that besides the landscape standards that we talked about earlier... you see, we don't want people to bulldoze this place down. So, that's number one.
Number two, you want to create some architectural theme. Now what we did, we took Bahamian Colonial as the architectural theme.
Here is an example of the style... one of the Starwood hotel villas situated in the center of Cotton Bay Estates & Villas.
Wim: On the beach front lots for example, you have height limitations. You can only build a one-story house there. 20 feet is the maximum height; that's the top of the roof.
The minimum square footage on those Cotton Bay Estates lots that allow only single-story houses, is a 3'000 sq.ft. home.
The second row of lots further up the hill, will have two-story homes. We call them the *View Lots* and the height limitation there is 30 feet.
For that part of our interview where Wim is talking about Cotton Bay Villas, i.e. the hotel villas that are for sale, click here.
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