NEW YORK - The
march of the Caribbean mega-resorts continues.
Just weeks after a
Canadian company said it will build the world's largest resort - a
lunar-themed property off Grand Bahama - French resort mogul Pierre
Schnebelen unveiled designs for Atlantica, a multibillion-dollar
development in the Dominican Republic.
Described as a
multi-use, residential, resort community that will become the
Caribbean's "leading yachting destination and a golf capital,"
Atlantica - to be built on the country's north coast at Luperon Bay
- will add some 25,000 beds to the Dominican Republic's room
Plans call for
seven villages with some 3,000 homes and 20 hotels - including
luxury boutiques and high-end international brands - and three golf
courses. Two of them will be designed by Arnold Palmer and Jim
Atlantica will be modeled after the French Riviera resort of St.
Tropez. Each residence will combine "the charm of Provence with the
flavor of the Caribbean," according to a spokeswoman for developer
Puerto Luperon Corp. "We want to develop our own unique
architecture, which you can't find anywhere else."
Also on the drawing
board: A hurricane-proof harbor with 450
slips and drydock facilities for up to 280 yachts; a transatlantic
shuttle to transport yachts between the Mediterranean and Caribbean
seas; a day-cruise ship terminal; an airstrip with hangars for 160
jets; a casino; and club and sports facilities.
The project will
encompass 12 natural islands and peninsulas to maximize shorefront
accessibility for guests. There will be 10 beaches.
Corp. plans three phases of development over 10 years. The initial,
$150 million phase breaks ground this December with the first 99
town homes and a beach club scheduled to be completed by December
2005. The first of the three golf courses, meanwhile, is planned to
open by May 2006.
The developer plans
to add 68 town homes and a bed-and-breakfast by June 2006. Sixty
additional town homes, 30 seaside "marina estates" and Atlantica's
first hotel - the Ambar Hotel - are slated for December
Schnebelen, president of Puerto Luperon Corp., a one-year, $250
million phase of construction at Atlantica will begin about every
Asked if the
Caribbean market is big enough to support two mega-developments
like Atlantica and Moon Bahamas, Schnebelen said, "Yes, the demand
is absolutely staggering. At Atlantica,
we're already preselling about five residences a day."
there are millions of yacht and sailboat owners on the eastern U.S.
seaboard, but not one major marina is under
"So we think that
we have a captive niche market," he said.
In his 30 years in
the resort business, Schnebelen has participated in the
construction of hotels and resorts at some 40 major destinations,
including Bar- celona for the 1992 Summer Olympics and ski resorts
Val d'Isere and Tignes in France, where he pioneered year-round
skiing with glacier-top ski trails.
Today, the region
is Europe's premier ski area, with 100 hotels that generate 3
million "skier days" per year, according to Schnebelen. In total,
Schnebelen said his ski resorts in France have created more than
75,000 beds and 150,000 new jobs - figures that might have caught
the eye of Dominican Republic authorities.
Atlantica is his
second development project in the D.R. He also is involved in Cap
Cana, a resort project launched in 2000 about six miles southwest
of Punta Cana's airport.
The D.R. was
selected for both projects based on its popularity, accessibility
and development needs, said Schnebelen.
"It is probably the
fastest-growing and one of the most accessible markets in the
world, just three hours by air from New York City," he said, noting
that 150 international flights arrive at Dominican airports each
"Secondly, as a
country that needs a lot of development, it's among the most
favorable destinations in terms of costs, despite all the
[infrastructure] handicaps," Schnebelen added.
Yet, even with the
expected economic boost the development will provide the Dominican
Republic, Atlantica is privately funded and receives no government
information, visit www.atlanticadr.com or call Atlantica's sales office
in Miami at (800) 889-7341.
reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].