May 12, 2016
In July 2015, Replay Destinations (Bahamas) bought the Paradise Island property now known as One Ocean for $9 million "cash". That price allowed for what Replay Director of Marketing and Sales Greg Ulmer called "excessive upgrades". These include German doors, Italian tiles, an entirely rebuilt elevator system and local wood on the exterior, among other details. Ulmer said the goal is to create a legacy for Replay in The Bahamas with this property, which marks the Canadian developer's entry into The Bahamas.
Ulmer told Guardian Business he is reluctant to say how much the company is spending on the refurbishment - "It changes every day," he said. He added that he expects total sales revenue coming into the building to be about $100 million.
He also expects to have units ready to show in the first week of June 2016, and spoke to the property's likely function as a "calling card" for Replay.
"I think this project will always be an iconic project for Replay. It's our first entry into The Bahamas, and The Bahamas has such appeal to everybody that I think that this will be one that we'll always talk about that we've done, whatever we do... It'll always be one that we feature as an iconic project for Replay," Ulmer said.
The road on Paradise Island leading to One Ocean is lined on one side by properties that have seen better days, and one or two - like One Ocean - that are under development. On the other side of the street are ultralux properties like One and Only Ocean Club. Ulmer stressed a number of times that Replay couldn't build the One Ocean building from scratch in 2016, but purchasing it for what was a good price was a boon. Given the opportunity to purchase at a lower price, Replay was able to increase its spend on the upgrades as noted, and also, since the company bought the building for cash, that meant there was no ticking clock forcing decisions. As a result, Ulmer said, the company went through four design companies before being satisfied and settling on the design it deemed ideal for its desired clientele.
Ulmer said the presales have been surprising. When Replay bought the building, there were as many as 10 units that were mostly complete; according to Ulmer, the decision was to finish those units and "release them very quietly to the market".
"We've sold all but two of those units... We've had 10 to 12 sales already, and we didn't intend to have any until the construction was done. It was never our intent. And we started talking to local brokers and embracing the local brokerage community because there was such a pent-up demand for real estate on Paradise Island, and it's been very encouraging," Ulmer said.
He explained that, in June 2016, models of all three available styles will be complete, the common area improvements will be done, and Replay will then market the remaining units aggressively.
"If I had a lot of completed inventory done, I would have sold it. It's a good problem to have."
He said the high-end nature of the prospective clientele is unlikely to limit One Ocean's market.
"We're not trying to bring 400 units to the market. I've got 52, I've sold a dozen of them, so I really have 40-something units to sell. I feel confident we'll sell those within the next 12 to 18 months.
Ulmer said the drive for One Ocean was to get it right.
"This was Replay's first entry into The Bahamas. We established our company and want to be in The Bahamas for long term, because we do believe that there is a significant market... I mean, look at the airlift that is coming into Nassau, the international clientele coming in.
"We bought this building because it was such a great property. It just needed a little bit of love," he said.
Ulmer disclosed that Replay had been "really, really close" to buying a couple of other sites in The Bahamas, and still is looking and entertaining many other projects.
"This was a no-brainer to us, because if you could go in and transform it from what it was to what it's going to be, it's going to become an iconic building, instead of an eyesore on Paradise Island. And with everything happening and the amount of people coming here, it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up," he said.
K. Quincy Parker, Guardian Staff Reporter
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