Paul Altman knows about putting development ideas into action. Barbados is well known for project that bear his hallmark. Now, he has an idea to create man-made offshore islands that will give a new 'lifestyle'. Judging from the artist's impression, that vision for the project at Lime Grove will indeed be an amazing change of style. The development will have 12 commercial/retail buildings, plus 56 planned residential buildings - the first 8 townhouses - a show home to be open in Spring 2010. The Nation gives a good outline of other elements of the project. More information is also available at the Limegrove website. But, the idea of reclaiming land is bold, as is the notion of bringing in major high-end retail names.
When he spoke at yesterday's Broad Street Journal Business Breakfast, at Tamarind Cove, you could sense the suspense in the minds of the audience as he outlined his project. Two islands off the west coast, which will include a small island that has a national park as intended recreation space for locals.Admittedly, the main island and development seems geared at tourists, as a means of getting them to 'linger longer' and to part with more of their foreign exchange. But, one of my constant concerns about what I see of tourism here is that it does not seem driven enough to maximise tourists spending in a way that is consistent with the market it has set up for tourism.
Barbados is not Dubai, and should not aim to be. But Barbados needs a image make over. I personally wonder why Barbadian tourism has developed a sort of brand less image--nothing wrong with boutique hotels. But, when the market has been to target high-end tourists then they will not be attracted by faceless and nameless items of indifferent quality; they would be attracted by brands, which have a pedigree. Mr. Altman's project will have some of that with its Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Cartier flagship stores, and a dazzling array of world renowned brands on sale in other stores. It will also try to blend in some of the historic character of the island, which is also something that should be better stressed across the island. It will be a very interesting visit to see this project in 12 months' time.
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