New Development

A Reflection of Character

rivieraFrench Riviera Condominiums
By Kathy Borsuk
Photo by Jean Philippe Alonso

Jean Philippe (“J.P.”) Alonso could be described as an island “character.” He first came to the Turks & Caicos Islands nearly a decade ago to hunt for treasure in shipwrecks off the Silver Banks. He found no gold, but soon afterwards became a successful entrepreneur, whose primary focus was in his company Provo Landscaping Ltd. For a brief stint, he also served as owner/operator of Pioneer Cleaners, a local dry-cleaning operation. But through it all, the amiable Frenchman dreamed of building his own condominium project, and that is where his creative energy is focused today.

Named for J.P.’s roots in the south of France, the French Riviera is a condominium development like no other, distinctly reflecting the character of its creator. An intimate oasis of only six units in Providenciales’ sought-after Grace Bay area, each suite is themed after a city on the French Riviera. Utilizing knowledge that only someone intimately familiar with the region can offer, the decor reflects the characteristics that make each town special. For instance, while “Cannes” is designed in the warm colors of the south, “Grasse,” which gained its glory through perfume, features cool lavender tones and will include accent pieces of antique bottles. “St. Tropez” has a smooth finishing touch of the yellow mimosa flower, “St. Paul de Vence” offers a stylish olive green design and “Vallauris” interiors have been granted a personal touch of Picasso. Hand-painted murals on the walls also pay homage to each city’s unique atmosphere.

J.P. explains the imagination behind his concept, “I wanted to create a condominium community that offers more than just a sterile living space. I want the residents to see, feel, hear and breathe unique and beautiful sights, textures, sounds and aromas.” As such, units are rich in the warm colors and textures of the Mediterranean and are surrounded by lush gardens replete with butterflies and bird song. Covered and screened terraces etch each suite’s corners, with outdoor living clearly in mind.

French Riviera Condominiums

The French Riviera comprises two buildings. The first is an existing two-story structure which J.P. recently remodeled and decorated as a showpiece. He will live on the top floor, with the lower level already sold to another island resident. In the adjacent lot, J.P. is currently working with contractor Norman Slyvestre of Gold Coast Development and Design to construct the second building Ð a duplex with two bedroom units upstairs and two, one bedroom units on the lower level. They anticipate completion by early 2004.

The spacious two-bedroom units range in size from 1,300 to 1,900 square feet and include two baths; one with a Jacuzzi tub. One bedroom suites include 600 sq. ft. of indoor space and the same amount of terrace and mezzanine area, with the “Vallauris” boasting a private serenity garden with Jacuzzi and waterfall. All include full kitchens.

Because he will be living on premise and anticipates most purchasers doing the same, J.P. has paid a lot of attention to the things that make a “development” feel like a “home.” Besides the beautiful, mature landscaping that will surround the property (one of his many skills), there will be a large pool and waterfall in the back, surrounded by a spacious sun deck and outdoor barbecue, with a private gym nearby. Each owner will have a 55 sq. ft. private storage area in a separate building, ideal for use as a garage or workshop. J.P. says he’ll also maintain a French Riviera car for airport pickups, in keeping with the neighborly atmosphere he hopes to weave in the magical enclave.

Part of the French Riviera’s charm lies in its location. Nestled in a private cul de sac behind the prestigious Grace Bay Club, a two-minute stroll brings residents to spectacular Grace Bay Beach, and upstairs units offer magnificent ocean and island views. Yet by being set apart, the site maintains a peaceful tranquility that belies its easy access to over a dozen restaurants, shops, night life and the Provo Golf & Country Club.

Paula Brennan, agent at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Turks & Caicos, is handling sales. She says, “I see the French Riviera as more than just another condo in Grace Bay. This is truly a place that you can call home . . . your own little piece of paradise.” Paula says she believes the project will appeal to people who are looking for something beyond the often-sterile atmosphere of the larger condo developments. “This is a small, private oasis out of the mainstream, and it offers a more personal touch. It’s easy to see that J.P. has put his heart and soul into the design of each unit. It also offers excellent value for the dollar.” Coldwell Banker’s rental arm, Blue Horizon property management, will assist with owners who may be interested in renting out their units when not in use.

At press time, J.P. was planning a trip home in October to purchase additional items from towns along the French Riviera, including Biot, which derived its fame from glass-blowing. (You can guess what will grace the “Biot” suite here.) Owners have the option of several distinctly different appliance/furniture packages arranged through Donna Gatti of Island Interiors, which reflect J.P.’s decidedly non-standard approach to development. He says, “I have always had a different way to see things . . . that is what I am trying to create at the French Riviera.”



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Marta Morton, owner/operator of Harbour Club Villas (www.harbourclubvillas.com) took this photo of the native Turks & Caicos rock iguana on Bay Cay. This endemic animal is being threatened by the invasive green iguana. See article on page 36.

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