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Baha Mar partners with elite hotels

After a nearly month-long whirlwind tour of Asia, Baha Mar has partnered with some of the world’s most elite hotels and hired a team of real estate agents ahead of the resort’s condominiums going on sale to international investors early in the new year.

The Baha Mar Collection has officially added the likes of Dorchester Hotel Group and The Jumeirah Group – alliances that add major cache to the product.

Richard English, senior vice president in charge of sales and marketing at Baha Mar, said the 313 luxurious residences will go on sale in February, making these partnerships essential to success.

“The Dorcester Hotel Group is known for the Bel Air Hotel and Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and the Dorcester in London, among others,” he told Guardian Business. “The Jumeirah Group, which includes the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, has also signed on. We continue to bring on brands of this caliber. During my 25-day trip we also got Raffles in Singapore, hotels under the Shangri-La banner and the Mandarin in Hong Kong.”

The private properties at Baha Mar, ranging in price from $1.2 million for a one-bedroom apartment to a $6 million, four-bedroom villa on the beach, will be spread out through the Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, Mondrian and Casino hotels, each bringing with it a distinct feel and flavor.

English pointed out that the Asian tour was especially important to the project given its ties with the Export-Import Bank of China, which is financing the $2.6 billion resort, and The China State Construction Engineering Corporation that is now spearheading its construction.

The hope is especially robust sales will be realized in this area.

By signing on these hotels, the result is the Baha Mar Collection. In essence, owners of the residents have the ability to “cash in” time at the property for stays and experiences at a list of destinations around the world.

In tandem with the hotel signings, English said eight real estate agencies have signed on as partners to help move the properties once they go on sale.

Three of these agents are in China – Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

“The Asian market is key for us,” he said.

“But there are also representatives in other countries, such as the UK, U.S., Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. We are leveraging all of these estate agents around the world.”

English anticipated there would be as many as 12 agencies working on the Baha Mar Collection’s behalf before the properties go on the market.

Local buyers won’t have access to the properties until summer 2012, with occupancy expected when the resort is completed in December 2014.

Meanwhile, shortly after the Asian tour, English and his team attended the World Travel Market in London – one of the largest of its kind in the world.

“Most of the show includes country pavillions, so we had Trinidad on one side and Argentina on the other. To my knowledge, Baha Mar was the only booth devoted to one individual project. In terms of brand exposure destination marketing it was very important. When it comes to selling the residences, the UK is another key market,” he explained.

Although the resort itself is expected to have a dramatic impact on the tourism scene, the introduction of 313 luxurious residences to international investors will also throw a curve ball into the Nassau property scene, according to Patty Birch, the president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association.

In an earlier interview, she told Guardian Business that the Baha Mar Collection was a good idea, simply because there are few elite properties on the island of this nature.

“There aren’t 700 lots in Baker’s Bay, and there aren’t 900 in Albany,” she said.

“When you look at high-end developments here, there aren’t a large portion of them on the market.”

That said, Birch felt the Baha Mar residences must reconcile the fact that high-end buyers may want a larger property, rather than a resort or hotel-orientated environment.

English said the idea of the Baha Mar Collection was to not just offer a place to live, but provide a flexibility investment whereby clients can stay elsewhere in the world or use it as an asset for renting.

“We want to give that alternative to stay in their unit, giving it both luxury, elegance and flexibility,” he said.

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