Monday, March 3, 2008

Holetown To Get Its Long Awaited High-end Retail Concourse

Shopping mall? Perish the thought! Last week ground was finally officially broken in Holetown for the $150 M high-end Limegrove Lifestyle Centre. Developers were at pains to point out that Limegrove will not be just another shopping mall. The project which has been bandied about for the last several years is to finally come on stream as a hip residential development with trendy brand name shops like Louis Vutton, Hermes, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Armani and Cartier. In other words, when completed in two years Limegrove’s 100,000 sq. ft. retail component will look more like The Shops at Bal Habour just north of Miami or the really high-end shopping areas of the themed luxury resorts of Las Vegas or the upscale shopping centers in or near some large cities across the USA.

The price of one of the 60 condos and penthouses planned for the 10-acre development will be a number with at least two commas and denominated in US currency, of course. Ronald Tree probably never dreamed when he completed Sandy Lane in the early 1960s that a little 3000 sq. ft. apartment next to a salt pond in Holetown would fetch that much, but that was before the Gold Coast became the Platinum Coast. Along with the gold and platinum there is the greed that is causing ugly family rows as locals scramble to sell lands that have been in their families for generations in order to cash -in on the frenzy created by the rash of new beachfront and inland developments popping up everywhere on the west coast.

Last week a huge track was cleared in Weston, St. James across from the St. Albans Primary School and it is rumored that condos are also on the cards for that lot. Already opened next door in the watercouse near the spot where local calypsonian The Great Carew and his chattel house were swept out to sea a dozen years ago there now stands a new beachfront apartment complex eerily called - “Beyond the Reef.” Limegrove is on the banks of the area’s largest watercourse and is taking no chances; it is spending a million dollars upfront on the necessary engineering to ensure that it is not a victim of Holetown’s notorious flooding.

Meanwhile, further up the coast another resort laying next to a watercourse is about to expand. Cobblers Cove Hotel has purchased the property to its south (not the watercourse side) and will be building on it, although we do not know yet exactly what. It is important to note that Cobblers Cove - or “Camelot” as the original castle-like mansion built on an old Cholera graveyard was called - was one of the first resorts built that has turned the once dead or sleepy west coast of Barbados into what it is today. It was built in 1943 as a weekend retreat for the local wealthy east coast sugar planter and politician - Josh Haynes. He came for the calm waters as a get-away from the rough seas of the east coast. With projects like Limegrove and the continuing condoization of the West Coast a new generation - now mostly foreign - is giving new meaning to the concept of ‘making bread on the dead.’


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