There is a wealth of information available on the internet about second citizenship programs – generated by local agents, marketing agents and developers. Investors typically do not make a personal visit to their island of future citizenship, relying instead on desktop due diligence.
This is fine as far as it goes, but the glossy brochures and slick videos don’t always tell the whole story. Range Developments’ assertion is simple: our luxury hotel projects are best of class, and built to a quality way above the industry standard. Don’t just take our word for it, read some of the many comments on TripAdvisor.
For the 99 per cent of investors who select their citizenship by investment real estate project without a site visit, here are some key pertinent points that an investor should take into consideration.
Developer’s track record
Range Developments is the only hotel developer involved in this sector that has delivered on its promises. It has completed two luxury hotels and started construction on a third in Grenada at the beginning of this year.
No other developer in the industry has come close to this achievement. Range builds to the highest standards and only works with the world’s leading hospitality brands. For example, Six Senses was named the World’s Leading Hotel Brand for the past three years by Travel & Leisure.
Range Developments has a construction division that boasts a wealth of development experience. This division is led by my business partner, Mr. Kamal Shehada, Managing Director & Member of the Board. With more than four decades of construction experience under his belt, Kamal has now relocated to the Caribbean. He has assembled one of the most qualified construction teams in the region. Prior to launching any of our projects to the market, Range ensures that they are executable, with all technical due diligence carried out.
Our first project - Park Hyatt St. Kitts has received multiple awards and has been widely recognized in the international media. CNN has singled it out as “the Best Hotel in the Caribbean” with Forbes naming it “a grand Caribbean debut”. It was also included in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Hot List.
Our second project - Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski, Dominica - opened its doors to guests in October 2019 and has already been listed among “The hottest new hotel openings of fall 2019” by Condé Nast Traveler and named by Forbes as “The most anticipated new Caribbean hotels for 2019 and beyond”.
Our third project – Six Senses La Sagesse Grenada – was launched in the middle of 2019. In fewer than 9 months the project was designed – this work stream typically takes 12 to 18 months. Initial site work commenced in February and very shortly we will be awarding the main construction contract. The project will be completed by the end of 2022.
Unfortunately, a number of our competitor’s Caribbean hotel projects are severely delayed. Certain projects which were originally scheduled to complete in early 2019 are still pouring structural concrete with no serious MEP work evident in the public areas from their own website. Delays are a cause of concern and require further investigation.
Product Design and Feasibility
Our products are designed for the long term and built to last. We only use the highest quality materials and ensure all international standards are complied with regards to earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Moreover, all three of our projects are well suited to attract the luxury traveler in the post Covid era. Taking our Six Senses Grenada for example, it is spread out over 28 acres, comprises 100 rooms, with over 30 swimming pools and benefits from only a 20 per cent built up ratio. Please click here to access a piece prepared by our world-renowned architect, Simeon Halstead, highlighting the key design features of the Six Senses Grenada.
These design features will permit the Six Senses to obtain a market leading room rate and attract the luxury travelers who have the highest disposable incomes. The design also considers the traveler’s desire for social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a world where social distancing is more desirable, the Six Senses is perfectly designed. How properties with hundreds of rooms congested into a few acres will cope remains to be seen.
The Government stipulates the minimum investment thresholds that an investor must investor to be eligible for citizenship. However, the Government does not stipulate what an individual receives in return.
When this is assessed on a cost per key basis, certain projects in the Caribbean are selling hotel keys at a price of over USD2.5m and investors only benefit from a portion of accommodation revenue. All the other resort income and the balance of the accommodation revenue belongs to the developer.
The valuation per key at which we invite investors to participate in our Six Senses development is c. 40 per cent of this figure. Investors are acquiring interests in a real estate investment trust which owns the resort and benefit from distribution from all types of revenue (F&B, Spa, Rooms etc) that the resort generates.
Despite spurious claims from competitors to the contrary, investors in our trust structure, can resell their investment to other individuals after 5 years who may also use the investment as a basis to apply for citizenship. The original investor maintains his citizenship in perpetuity.
Inadvertent Public Disclosure of Citizenship
To the best of our knowledge there are no projects in Grenada qualified for Citizenship at the US$220,000 price point where you can acquire a solely owned deeded property in your own name. As such whether you are investing in our real estate trust structure or purchasing a portion of a title deed, the commercial effect is the same. It is an investment. It does not permit you to use the real estate all year round, exclude others, or created a mortgage over the full unit.
The key advantage of investing through our trust structure, is the register of investors is not a publicly available document. We are unique in this regard.
An investment in a deeded property (whether whole or granular), will be recorded in Grenada Land Registry. Given the projects approved for citizenship are widely advertised, it easy to ascertain the list of individuals who have obtained Grenadian citizenship by a simple on-line search of the Land Register. This may create challenges for individuals whose original citizenship prohibits second citizenship. Indeed, further complications could arise in the future given you inadvertently partner in a particular title deed with individuals unknown to yourself.
The tax situation on the resale of a deeded title (whole or granular) needs careful analysis. This transfer could trigger the payment of transfer taxes and each development is considered separately in this regard.
A resale of a unit in Range’s real estate trust structure does not attract transfer taxes.
Our track record speaks for itself. Our hotels are built to the highest standards and once complete, professionally run by the world’s leading management brands.
We have good relations with the people of the islands where we build. Community integration is important for us, which is why we run extensive corporate and social responsibility programs.
About the Author
Mohammed Asaria is Managing Director and Board Member of Range Developments, an international luxury hospitality development company that develops luxury resorts in the Eastern Caribbean under Citizenship-by-Investment programs. Mr. Asaria has a dual background in law and investment banking.