In a surprise change from previously announced 99-year leasehold arrangements for golf course real estate, the Cuban government agreed to let a Canadian developer sell condominiums in perpetuity.
Three investor groups from Britain and Spain, whose golf course real estate projects are in similarly advanced stages of planning, hope the government will apply that arrangement to their projects as well. Although banks consider 99-year agreements as equal to outright ownership, perpetual ownership might convince more individual buyers to take the plunge and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Communist island.
Other arrangements to sweeten the deal for foreign condo buyers are also taking shape. Standing Feather International Inc., an Ottawa-based company created by Canadian aboriginal businessmen, said in a press release that the government will create a new visa category for foreign homeowners called “residente inmobiliario” for long-term stays, and that real estate owners will be allowed to import their cars. Also, the administration of the golf course community will be allowed to import foodstuffs for consumption at Loma Linda.
“We are proud to announce that the title to the luxury property that home buyers will acquire will not be the standard 99-year leasehold,” Standing Feather International said in a press release. “Instead, residential properties will be sold with the right to own that property in perpetuity.”
Standing Feather — the Canadian partner of state company Grupo Empresarial Extrahotelero Palmares SA in the Cuba-Kanata Golf SA joint venture — said its executives met with their Cuban partners in the first week of July to finalize the terms of the joint venture contract. The Council of State will then review the terms and plans. The company expects to get a final contract and sign-off on construction plans in September or October.
Standing Feather is planning to build the Estancias de Golf Loma Linda at Guardalavaca beach in Holguín province on 520 acres, around a 36-hole championship golf course designed by Graham Cooke. At an estimated cost of $455 million at full buildout, the project includes 1,300 furnished villas, bungalows, duplexes and apartments, as well as a 170-room boutique hotel.
The Cuban government will declare Loma Linda a “Special Development Zone,” according to Standing Feather.