New Development

Right Place, Right Time

rrr_buildingsThe Royal Reef Resort

By Kathy Borsuk~ Renderings by QR Imaging

North Caicos beach fronting Royal Reef Resort

North Caicos beach fronting Royal Reef ResortEvery so often, an opportunity appears that is too good to pass up. That’s the way Fred Paatz and Mark Hall felt when they first saw the beach just north of Sandy Point, North Caicos. It was a gift from God . . . compelling and almost mirage-like in its simple beauty: glass-smooth turquoise waters rimming a pristine expanse of fine white sand. And the Royal Reef Resort was conceived.

It was the right place at the right time. By all accounts, land values in North Caicos were skyrocketing, as investors overwhelmed by Providenciales’ rampant development looked to catch the next “big wave.” And North Caicos had plenty to offer. Not only were its beaches on par with Grace Bay, but the island’s rolling landscape, lush vegetation and deeply rooted traditions spoke of a Caribbean of yesteryear. The necessary infrastructure — good roads, electricity, telecommunications — was in place and the TCI government supported carefully planned development that would retain the island’s intriguing charm.

Paatz and his partner Mark Hall were convinced and purchased outright a 17+ acre site that encompassed 450 feet of beachfront. With nearly 35 years of development and commercial financing experience between them, the pair was excited about the stunning possibilities for this project. Vibrant and forward-thinking, they knew the Royal Reef must be a five-star property to complement its exclusive location and enchant the upscale clientele it seemed destined to attract. Paatz explains, “We put luxury, privacy and service above all in every aspect of our plans. The Royal Reef will be a self-contained five-star beach resort with all the amenities in place.”

The Royal Reef includes 120 condominiums in eight buildings, with a selection of one-, two-, three-bedroom and penthouse suites. Buildings are grouped in spacious enclaves, surrounded by exuberant landscaping with adjacent private free-form pools. Paatz notes that the site will hold less than half the number of rooms allowed by government planning regulations — a deliberate low-density choice made to protect the Royal Reef’s exclusivity. Beachfront units reflect generous setbacks of natural dune vegetation to ensure that nature remains at the forefront and every suite promises a stunning ocean view.

The heart of the Royal Reef will be a 95-suite boutique hotel, mirroring the buildings’ timeless Tuscan-Caribbean architectural elements. It, too, is surrounded by free-form water features, including a spectacular river-like pool for hotel guests and a reflecting pool leading to the entrance pavilion. (In fact, the Royal Reef Resort boasts of having more pools and water features than any other resort in the Turks & Caicos Islands.)

rrr_site_planRoyal Reef residents — owners, guests or vacationers — will find no comfort lacking within the gated property. Dining choices will include a beachfront bar and grill, a casual bistro and a fine dining restaurant for that special romantic dinner. Tucked within a secluded garden haven is the 12,000 sq. ft. spa, offering the latest in relaxing and regenerating therapies. With kitchen facilities in each condominium suite, guests will enjoy having a full supermarket, deli and bakery on site. Rounding out the upscale retail options are a clothing boutique, art gallery, jewelry store and dive shop.

Paatz is especially excited about the 220 seat, theatre-style conference hall — the first of its kind in the Turks & Caicos Islands. He says, “The Royal Reef can draw international attention as a site for business meetings and the facility is also a perfect venue for weddings and live entertainment.”

However, the island’s premium blend of sun, sand and sea remains its primary attraction and simply relaxing on the beach or around the pool terrace ranks high on most visitor’s “to do” list. The more active will appreciate the in-house watersports/dive operation, with the latest equipment and advice for enjoying the unexplored North Caicos dive sites and tranquil waters for which the Turks & Caicos are known. Two lighted tennis courts and a fitness facility will keep the sporting crowd satisfied, while tours of North Caicos’ fascinating fishing and farming-based communities will intrigue eco-travellers.

The Royal Reef will have no lack of the small touches that can make a difference to discerning visitors. An on-line concierge program ensures that guests can pre-stock their suites before arrival and that any and all special needs are planned for. Services of private butlers, chefs and nannies will be at the ready. High-tech digital fobs will serve as guests’ “keys” to the Royal Reef, allowing paper-free room charges. Wireless services and international cell phone access will be available resort-wide.

Upon arrival at Providenciales International Airport, once resort guests have cleared immigration and customs, Royal Reef representatives will be waiting to spirit them away like royalty to the resort. Transportation options include a private ferry service via the resort’s motor yacht, private helicopter service for the adventurous or three scheduled 12-minute flights from Provo daily. When the North Caicos airport expansion is complete (estimated 2008), guests will have the additional option of flying directly to North Caicos.

Private garages and storage lockers will help part-time owner-residents feel secure when they are away. Should they prefer, placing their suite in the managed-and-marketed vacation rental program can reap a supplementary income year-round.

Although the Royal Reef’s sales office has only been open since February, 2005, by mid-May, Fred Paatz reported over 20% pre-sales. Of these early investors, the majority are condominium owners on Providenciales who are looking for a place “the way Provo used to be.” The up-market clientele includes actors and sports stars, likely drawn from the celebrity hideaway of Parrot Cay, which is just across the channel from Royal Reef. Paatz believes that beachfront suite buyers plan to make the Royal Reef their second or third home, while those purchasing sumptuous ocean view units see it as an investment or retirement haven.

rrr_beachPrices range from $255,000 up to $7.5 million for penthouses, with pre-construction prices deliberately discounted 20% for guaranteed appreciation. However, investment growth is a reality on North Caicos these days. Prices for one acre oceanfront sites in a nearby subdivision leapt from $130,000 to $620,000 in less than three year’s time and are currently sold out.

Besides the scarcity of available beachfront property on North Caicos, “soon-come” improvements should continue to drive property prices skyward. An upscale marina complex is in the works at Sandy Point, destined to attract boaters from near and far. Government plans for the island include a deep water port at Bellefield Landing, which will drastically improve importation of goods and materials to the island. Expansion of the airport, a bridge to Middle Caicos and a potential link road between the Caicos islands and cays are all plans that will make access to and life on North Caicos even more attractive.

Paatz and Hall took great care to assemble a strong team to assist them in the birth of the Royal Reef. DCYSM, Canada’s largest architectural firm, can take credit for the resort’s well-thought-out design — a reflection of their work on over 50 resorts worldwide. Based in the Turks & Caicos since 1978, TDMG Concordia are the contractors, bringing a wealth of experience gleaned from such local projects as Point Grace, The Grandview on Grace Bay, Royal West Indies and Carpe Diem. Groundbreaking is set for August, 2005 regardless of pre-sales. Paatz says that financing is already in place to complete the entire first phase of the project.

Building a five-star resort on an isolated tropical island will involve a number of challenges, for which, Paatz states, he and his team are well-prepared. Until the deep-water harbor is completed, every bit of material for the project must be first imported into Providenciales, trucked to Heaving Down Rock, re-loaded onto a barge, sailed to Bellefield Landing, unloaded and re-trucked to the site. To help streamline the task, Royal Reef has set up a material-staging area and chartered two new barges. On-site generators will provide full power should existing supplies falter. Reverse osmosis water and waste treatment facilities are state-of-the-art.

Although the resort is still at least two years from completion, recruitment is already beginning for what will be the resort’s soul — a well-trained staff. Paatz has spread the word to students at North Caicos’ high school that training programs will be available and plans to expand his search to Europe and North America as necessary. Staff housing is being built on-premise.

North Caicos Islanders have a long history of self-reliance and independence, honed from years of supporting themselves on the bounty of a plentiful sea and a rich harvest of fruits and vegetables grown uniquely on North and Middle Caicos. As island newcomers, Paatz says the Royal Reef Resort development intends to respect this attitude, while opening opportunities to the community as a gesture of thanks for allowing a lucky few to share in their blessings. Royal Reef recently supported an Earth Day clean-up, one of many community-based projects in which they plan to become involved.

TCI residents and aficionados are keeping a watchful eye on the development of North Caicos. It seems destined to serve as a model for the country’s other, still-pristine places of natural beauty. By stepping carefully on their “piece of heaven,” the Royal Reef developers can set a positive precedent for those to follow in their footsteps.

For more information, visit or call toll-free in North America 866 728 7333 or in Turks & Caicos 649 941 8120. Potential purchasers on-island will be escorted to the development site on board Royal Reef Resort’s private 42 foot luxury motor yacht or helicopter.

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May 26, 2013 16:39

Is construction ever going to start up again? Any “new” construction/projects it begin on North Caicos?

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