A master-planned resort and residential community is taking shape on a 483-acre former coconut plantation in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, just six traffic lights and 16 miles from San Juan Airport.

And when the new Route 66 is completed in March, only one traffic light will interfere with the airport-to-resort transfer.

"Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club is the closest resort to the airport, which is important for our high-end guests who want easy access," said Jaime Fortuno, executive vice president of the Interlink Group, development managers of the project.

"This project will set a standard for Puerto Rico, where the luxury market will discover that they have found a home," Fortuno said.

Components of the project include the 139-suite St. Regis Resort, Bahia Beach, which will include hotel suites and condo-hotel units, opening in April 2010; the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course, which opened last fall; and the Bahia Beach Golf Clubhouse, set to open in November. Also on tap: a variety of residences, estate homes, villas and townhouses; a two-mile-long beach; 80 acres of saltwater lakes and lagoons; a boathouse offering kayak rentals; miles of nature trails; and Bahia Village, offering a Remede Spa and Fitness Center, restaurants and swimming pools.

The 90 Las Verandahs villas were unveiled in April following December's delivery of the first of the 25 St. Regis Residences, Las Estancias estate homes.

Real estate sales have exceeded $100 million since the offerings went on the market last summer.

The St. Regis hotel component is located on 25 acres within the Bahia Beach complex. Of the 139 hotel suites, 98 will be available for sale, said Gladys Santana, Interlink senior vice president.

"The low-density design of the St. Regis calls for low buildings clustered campus-style along winding paths," Fortuno said.

Bahia Village, adjacent to the hotel, will form the heart of the project with boutiques, stores, restaurants, the spa and fitness center.

The St. Regis will not offer an all-inclusive plan, but instead will focus on high-end dining in its Jean-Georges signature restaurant and the St. Regis Resort restaurant in Bahia Village.

From the get-go, the main concern for the project has been conservation, Fortuno said. "We are committed to the principles of sustainable development and preserving the natural wonders of Bahia Beach."

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