FIRST MOU SIGNED IN ANGUILLA FOR 2018 Modern Retirement Village At Shoal Bay

By anguillian January 15, 2018 10:08



Anguilla is leading the rest of the Caribbean for a proposed modern living retirement village on ten acres of freehold land at Shoal Bay, in the north of the island. The project, called Pacata (Latin for tranquillity and peace) Developments –Anguilla Ltd., originates from the United Kingdom with the principal Director being Mr. Fernely Simmonds, who was born in St. Kitts.
In the 1960s he accompanied his parents to England. After completing his studies there, he went into construction as a Quality Surveyor and, over the years, has been financially managing projects in the contracting and property development sector. According to him, he built various clusters of housing projects, some exceeding a hundred million pounds, throughout the British midlands – London, Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford.
The open retirement community he intends to build in Anguilla, at an estimated cost of US $30 million, is aimed at meeting the specific needs of retired visitors, 55 years and over, “who wish to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle in a safe tranquil paradise setting”.
A Memorandum of Understanding, the first project proposal in Anguilla for the New Year, was signed on Friday, January 5, 2018, in the Executive Chambers. Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism, Mr. Victor Banks, signed on behalf of the Anguilla Government. The other main signatories were the Principals, Mr. Simmonds and the Anguillian owner of the land, Mrs. Cecilia Richardson, a resident at Island Harbour. Along with the two of them, the development team includes the Architect, Mr. Ian Best-Robertson Ward (based in Barbados with offices in Antigua); Steve McConghy – Blue Boar Consulting (based in the UK with offices in Barbados); Project Manager, Ralph Birkhoff – Blue Sea Strategy, Marketing & Sales; and Irving Stackpole & Associates, Medical Tourism.
“Today is an exciting day for us to announce the first new project in Anguilla for 2018,” Mr. Birkhoff said at the signing ceremony. “We have been working for a couple of years on a new category of tourism product. We selected Anguilla for a number of reasons. We found the island to be the ideal location for the first planned lifestyle community in the Caribbean. We were surprised when we did our research and found that this type of project actually doesn’t exist in the Caribbean. We have identified, through our partnership, a ten-acre landsite west off the Shoal Bay Road towards the Brimigen area.
“We will be constructing an 82-unit community – an oasis if you will –that will provide amenities with certain medical services, lifestyle services, health and recreation sporting activities. We are integrating the project with all of the Anguilla-based service providers. This is a product that existed in the global market for well over 40 years and it is one of the most active development sectors in the US, Europe and Asia. We are bringing it to the Caribbean and Anguilla will host the first of its type in the Caribbean. We will be looking to expand the model eventually but right now our focus is on getting this project started in Anguilla and completed as soon as possible.
“We have over a hundred registered interests already. What sets this apart from a more of a resort-type investment is that we will have permanent residence; permanent year-long jobs available; and we are really going to the front end of this development in terms of the building technology being climate resilient. We have solar alternative energy usages; water recycling programmes and edible landscaping integrated into the project. We are really going to expose the residence to the Caribbean lifestyle by introducing Caribbean cooking classes, mixology classes and [giving the residents] a chance to learn more about the Caribbean than they would normally do on a two-week vacation. It is a very exciting project and we are thrilled to be here today to inaugurate it.”

While the project will be based inland, there are also plans to establish a Beach Club which will only be about a three-minute drive away. The development will offer a range of accommodation facilities including one and two bedroom apartments; two bedroom townhouses; and two and three bedroom villas. Recreational amenities will include a community hall, swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, tennis courts, village green and lake, communal vegetable gardens and fruit orchard. Communal facilities will include restaurant, convenience shops, medical services centre, visitor suites and assisted living services.
Mr. Frenerly, the Principal Director, said: “We are excited not just for us but for Anguilla as well. The key to this is cooperation – working with Mrs. Richardson, and together we are both bringing our strengths to this project. It is only by collaborating that people move forward. No man is an island. Coming together is a key item for success. It is a long time in planning. What I bring is my expertise of 40 years in development in the UK where we build this [type of development] day in day out so that part of it is a second nature to me.”
Mr. Simmonds continued: “A lot people say we would like to retire in Anguilla but the reality of finding a suitable place, other than just for a two-week vacation, is a daunting task. With the target market of over 55 [years], we are offering them a one-stop shop. No longer will they have to chase around to find suitable premises. We also have on board Irving Stackpole & Associates who are experienced in medical tourism. They will be doing a lot more detailed research which we need to put the final designs [on the project]. We are really looking forward to promoting Anguilla and we can’t market our product without Anguilla. I think both come together plus the location here and, in particular, I understand that there will eventually be an extended runway providing direct access into Anguilla which adds to the ease of getting here.”
The Principal Director was of the view that while marketing of the project was an immediate undertaking, it would take some six months before the breaking of ground. It would be a further six to eight months before the first unit is completed and about four years for full complement.
Chief Minister, Mr. Banks, stated: “I am sure that the press is asking where did this come from? This is because nobody would have heard about this before. As we say in Government, we try to ensure that we have things ready to go before we start making announcements.”
Mr. Banks said that his Government had been interested in attracting investment from the UK for a long time. “Certainly, medical tourism and retirement tourism are areas that we have not really pursued in the manner we should have. A couple years ago we had a project called ‘Hotel de Health’ but it never got off the ground any further than having the clinical facilities. We need to move on to the next step and that is ensuring that we have a fully planned active lifestyle project that would attract that kind of clientele. I am happy to be a part of this…It has gone through a lot of phases. We have been back and forth on it and finally, I think, we can sign off on it and make it the first project signed in 2018. I am sure that a number of other projects would claim that they could have that status, as well, but they have not signed in 2018.
Chief Minister Banks added: “I think, all in all, this is an important year for Anguilla. We just came out of a serious weather event back in September. It caused significant damage to our infrastructure as well as our private sector including accommodations and other businesses. As a consequence we are anxious to get things moving again. There is a spirit that we have recovered but actually we have a long, long way to go – and investment like these can be a big, big difference in where we are going.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Mr. Cardigan Connor, said medical tourism was a way forward as part of the development of Anguilla. “We also talk about a broader base of people in Anguilla. You would say that the 55-plus retirees are not looking to compete with Anguillians for jobs but they will bring something to our economy that is needed. I think this will be something that will be beneficial to all of us. The project being the first in Anguilla, also says there is something very special about Anguilla.”
According to Mr. Birkhoff, the Marketing & Sales Consultant, that special something about Anguilla includes the following: although the island does not yet have an international airport, St. Maarten next-door is one of the top access points in the Caribbean; although there is not a major hospital, there is a very good hospital with excellent clinical services available – and there are air ambulance services to Miami and Puerto Rico; there is personal security services and “Anguilla is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.” He also mentioned quality of life, cost of living and quality of housing. He added, “Those are the key points, and Anguilla is at the top of the list. When we get an extended runway, we will have direct access.”
Mr. Simmonds, the project developer, commented: “The key to this development is the community. As you can see, from the layout, we have an area which we call the hub. It will be a meeting place for both local residents and the wider population in Anguilla.”

By anguillian January 15, 2018 10:08
  • Carlos Traseira

    Congratulations Irving for this new great endeavour! And I may add that there was a typo. His correct name is Irving Stackpole and the name of his company is Stackpole & Associates Inc.:

    • anguillian

      Noted. Thank you for spotting that out.


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