Orient - Express Hotels today announced the closing of a $30 million construction loan with the New York office of West LB. The financing is a first mortgage construction loan to complete development of the Company’s Porto Cupecoy residential mixed-use development on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean’s Netherland Antilles.
Porto Cupecoy consists of 180 luxury residences, retail boutiques and a 48-slip marina in a village setting, located between the beach and the bay in St. Maarten, just steps from the French side of the island and Orient-Express’ La Samanna hotel. The development is designed in the style of a Mediterranean seaside town, reflective of the luxury Italian resorts of Portofino or Sorrento. There is a large waterfront plaza surrounded by boutique ground floor retail space, in which 10 of 15 units are fully leased and three awaiting signature. It includes a varied selection of restaurants, a gourmet market, high end home furnishings stores and many fine boutiques. The marina has 41 pleasure craft slips and 7 mega-yacht slips.
Paul White, president and CEO of Orient-Express Hotels commented, “We are conscious that potential buyers have concerns in the current economic climate but with the successful closing of this loan, they can buy from us with confidence that the project will be completed and to a high specification. This is also good for Orient-Express in that from 2010, after repayment of the loan, we will be able to unlock surplus cash from the project, as we sell the remaining, unencumbered residences.”
A high season sales campaign is underway and has resulted in approximately $15 million of sales, primarily from the U.S. and Canada but also from Europe. The project is currently approximately 50 percent sold with most buyers paying cash. Orient-Express anticipates completion and delivery of the first residences in the fourth quarter of 2009.