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Big Dreams For Harbour Island
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Page 1 of 1Total of 3 messages
Posted by:Feb 13th 2003, 02:47:43 pm
terryCondos on Bay Street? Isn't that a first.
Posted by:Feb 12th 2003, 05:40:12 pm
Fig Tree News TeamFrom 'Blue Dolphin' in Abaco [, not to be confused with the lovely Pratt home on Bay Street!], home of Abaco Cruisers' Net and Barometer Bob's daily weather reports:

Thanks for the heads-up! As manager of the Abaco Cruisers Net, I sure do appreciate it, and will announce it during the "Community News" this week, thereafter in the "Daily Reminders" section bi-weekly till everyone knows.

Just yesterday during the net someone said that they were headed for Valentines for the 14th ... it's called "Judge's Choice", please say hello when they pull in!

Daily departure reports are flourishing, so you will have lots of new boats to celebrate with you.

Great news & Best of Luck to all concerned,
Pattie Toler
aka "Blue Dolphin"
The Abaco Cruisers Net, Marsh Harbour
Posted by:Feb 12th 2003, 12:01:50 pm
kboj84Just in time for Valentine's Day, two seasoned business partners and friends have closed on a sweetheart of a deal.

John Nichols and Tom Murphy Jr., architect and builder, respectively, avid boaters and fishermen, have pooled their money and dreams and bought Valentine's Resort & Marina on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, where they plan to build a 46-unit condo-hotel.

Harbour is a smudge of an island, just 3.5 miles long and half a mile across. It sits off the island of Eleuthera, sixty-odd miles northeast of Nassau, and can be reached only by boat. By Nichols' estimation, Harbour can be crossed widthwise in a golf cart, the favored transport on the island, in five minutes, tops.

"It has roosters running around the place, and the nicest people you can imagine," said Murphy, 54. "And talk about safe: You could let your 12-year-old daughter run around till midnight and never think twice."

Nichols and Murphy have been friends for more than 25 years, sharing a passion few can afford: boating about the Caribbean with their families.

Their gallivanting was enabled by their business prowess. Nichols' architecture firm, Nichols Brosch Sandoval & Associates in Coral Gables, has designed more than 200 hotels and resorts for the likes of Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt and Four Seasons. Murphy's Coastal Construction Group has built manses for, among many others, Oprah Winfrey, Sylvester Stallone and Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford. The two teamed up to build the InterContinental Miami Airport West Miami hotel and the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, a resort so exclusive that membership is by invitation only. They are working together on the upcoming Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, and, now, on Valentine's.

Valentine's Marina, nestled in Harbour Island's West coast, has had more than its share of heartbreak.

In 1992, its 34-slip marina was pummeled by Hurricane Andrew. Seven years later, just months after an electrical fire burned its restaurant, bar and dive shop to the ground, Hurricane Floyd struck and just about finished off what was left. The 21 motel rooms that adjoin the marina have been shuttered, slouching steadily toward disrepair.

The death of one of Valentine's five former owners prompted its sale to Murphy and Nichols.

Neither would disclose the sale price, but by the time they're done, they expect to spend about $25 million on 46 condo-hotel units, one restaurant, one bar, a dive shop and a spiffed-up marina that can accommodate mega-yachts of 175 feet.

The condos will range from 600 square feet to 1,400 square feet and cost $375,000 and up. They'll have dark wood floors, white walls and ceilings, wide porches with rocking chairs, and be housed in two story colonial-style buildings.

"Somewhere between Ernest Hemingway and Tommy Bahama," Nichols, 60, said.

Buying a Bahamian condo hotel unit has no obvious tax advantages: Monies generated by renters would be taxable to owners who live in the United States, Nichols said.

Mark Lunt, who tracks the hospitality business for Ernst & Young, said Valentine's would likely pull in baby boomers wanting a second home and eager to pay their mortgages by letting out their units.

"They certainly have a dream team there," Lunt said of the development duo.

While condo hotels are too new, at least in the United States, for analysts to say whether they make money for unit owners, hotel developers are embracing them because traditional financing has dried up and the condo hotels help recoup some cash up front.

Valentine's will not be Harbour's first resort.

On the other side of the island, the side where the sand looks like it's blushing, places like Pink Sands Resort, the Dunmore Beach Club and the Romora Bay Club cater to people who can afford nightly rates of $500 and up. Some 100 luxury homes are sprinkled throughout the island, too.

Nichols and Murphy aim to have the marina, one restaurant and the bar finished in the next nine months. Their friend Harper Sibley III, whose father founded the Ocean Reef Club, will manage the place.

Nichols said he'll probably buy a condo. Murphy said he'll probably stay on his 60-foot boat in the marina.

"It's spent most of its life in the Bahamas," Murphy said.

By Cara Buckley, The Miami Herald

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