Doing Business In St. Lucia
By Edward A. Harris
Welcome to doing business in St. Lucia!
Own a Piece of the Rock – In this article I would like to introduce to you the opportunities in investing off shore in real estate. In my first article which appeared in the last issue, I provided you with some of the signs that are important in making such a decision. Your stakes are higher when you invest in small island states where the land space is limited. Although prices have been climbing in recent years, there are still several properties that are on the market that offer serious potential for investors.
The Government of St. Lucia has sent out a clear signal that direct foreign investment is welcomed. The real estate sector offers opportunities in the areas of tourism, residential, commercial and industrial property development. The Government and people of St. Lucia recognizing the importance of tourism to the national economy have in recent months increased the tax holiday period to the sector from 15 to 20 years. In addition to other incentives such as waiver of Alien Land Holding License Fee and duty free import of materials for plant and equipment. St. Lucia needs another 3,000 hotel rooms.
The tourism sector is currently experiencing growth and has bounced back from the 911 crisis. The tourism product in recent years has expended and Eco – Tourism as a result of the recent World Heritage Site status granted the Pitons, this sub sector should be headed for a major boost. St. Lucia Jazz which is held in May continues to hold its own in the Jazz World and Carnival in July gets better every year, producing world class calypsonians and costume designers. St. Lucia is truly a destination for business and pleasure!
There is a place for small hotels, condominiums and villas, and small investors are advised to look into the prospects in these areas. Real Estate is one of the few areas of investment that has shown resilience and has produced satisfactory results to investors.
The number one priority for most persons in the developed world is to acquire a home of their own. Many persons after exposed to the opportunities in the real estate sector have continued to acquire homes as investment for an additional income stream. Many well developed established communities will not produce levels of returns to new buyers and it is against this background that investors in the real estate sector are advised to look off shore. The new age investors have been investing in time-share and other projects where they are removed from the day-to-day management of the property. However, if you are the type of investor who would like to have control and manage your investment St. Lucia has a mix of options that will put you into the business of real estate - hassle free. There are reputable Brokers, Valuers and other professionals in the construction industry who will deliver on their commitments.
Substantial acreages of land are available for development and there are other developed properties and businesses as well. Visit www.stluciarealtors.com and check out the listing of properties island-wide. The north of the island is well developed while the south with the international airport, seaport and substantial modern infrastructure is dubbed the new frontier, offering unlimited opportunities to be explored.
The major tourism plants and upscale housing developments are found in the north, in areas like Rodney Bay, Rodney Heights, Rodney Park, Reduit, Cap Estate which are all in the Quarter of Gros Islet. There are income generating properties in this area currently available for as low as US$150,000.00 - Guest House on the sea with 2 levels. Top - 2 bedrooms, 1 Bathroom dwelling house. Bottom 4 Apartments with individual Toilet and Bath. Priced at US$250,000.00 you can get 2 levels 3 & 4 apartments which can be converted to up to 10 single and double rooms in prime locations. Developed land is available from US$4.00 per sq ft. in selected locations around the island.
There are some very special deals for large-scale investors:
*200 acres of pristine undeveloped land with water spring US$400,000.00 Ideal for Eco – Tourism. *21 acres of developed land with large 2 storeyed house, fully cultivated with fruit trees and crops with access to the sea. US$600,000.00 *22 acres of fully cultivated land with coconut, cocoa, noni, fruit trees and ground provisions. Water Spring on site with plant to produce Spring Bottled Water US$600,000.00 These are just a few of the several deals that are available in St. Lucia – Simply Beautiful!
Real Estate prices are holding steady at the 1999 prices but with the economy moving ahead and the indicators continuing to show positive signs for the future, prices are likely to rise in the short term.
Non-Nationals will need to acquire an Alien Land Holding License to acquire property in St. Lucia. The process will take about two to three months and will have to be handled by an Attorney. The total transaction cost is 15% which includes 10% Alien Land Holding License Fee and 2% Government Tax.
You have an invitation from me and my team of Associate Brokers. I will do everything to make your investment hassle free, whether it is a 5 star hotel or a retirement home. We will hold your hand throughout the entire process. “Tell us your needs, we bring the experts together to deliver courteous, efficient and timely service”
In my next article, I would show you how you could be involved in joint venture partnerships with St. Lucian entrepreneurs in all types of businesses with little or no investment depending on the type of capital required.