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Realtors hope for Cup booster

Real estate: demand remains high for rentals of warehouses and smaller office units ahead of the America’s Cup

Sales of commercial properties dropped last year, according to the 2016 review by real estate agents Rego Sotheby’s International Realty.

A total of 11 business premises sold, down six on the previous “banner year” of 2015.

But RSIR predicted that hotel developments would boost the commercial market this year as the America’s Cup showcases the island to a worldwide audience.

The Loren Hotel at Pink Beach is set to open next month — the island’s first new hotel for more than a decade.

The boutique resort is said to set the tone for future hotel construction with modern interiors, beachfront living and the chance to buy new three-bedroom/three-and-a-half bathroom condominium/hotel private villas with garage and plunge pool for $4.2 million.

The report added that developers Desarollos is pushing ahead with construction and sales planning for the St Regis development on the site of the old Club Med in St George’s, while the sale of Tucker’s Point Hotel and golf club, which is in receivership, was expected to be completed soon “under new ownership who intend to reinvigorate the property and guest experience.”

And the review said: “Meanwhile, other properties such as the 8.8-acre Atlantic development site on the South Shore of Warwick for $9 million and Lantana’s 9.7 acres in Sandys for $16.9 million continue to garner interest from the international hotel developer industry.”

The prime sellers in the commercial sector last year were warehouse and land near Hamilton and St George’s, with Pembroke through to Devonshire and St George’s most popular with cash buyers seeking owner-occupier space to relocate, expand or re-establish existing businesses.

RSIR said: “Those commercial clients attributed their decision to buy now as a result of competitive land sales prices making custom-built properties economically feasible and the ability to buy existing buildings cheaper than to build in some instances.”

The report said the island continued to have a glut of office space available, with around 600,000 square feet available for rent in Hamilton and Pembroke.

It added: “Demand for class A office space continued as predominantly existing insurance and reinsurance companies and new start-ups looked for upgraded options, particularly along the western edge of town from Front Street and Pitts Bay Road.

“This area continued to command class A rental rates between $48 per square foot to $75 per square foot depending on amenities, views and layout.”

The report said that rental and warehouse space and smaller office units from 500 square feet to 4,500 square feet remained in demand among island business people setting up operations from cafés to gyms and shops to cash in on the anticipated influx of new and returning visitors for this summer’s America’s Cup.