Official groundbreaking for Christophe Harbour superyacht marina in St Kitts
by Tim Thomas
At a groundbreaking ceremony attended by the Governor General of St Kitts, the Prime Minister and other ministers and dignitaries, the first piles for Phase One of the Christophe Harbour marina have been driven home.
The ceremony marks a significant milestone for the ambitious development, which will create an extensive superyacht marina, harbour village, luxury amenities and real estate opportunities at the southern end of the Caribbean island.
The first phase comprises a 24-berth section of superyacht marina with slips ranging from 50 metres to 65 metres, each with full three-phase power, water and pump-out facilities. These are scheduled to come on stream by the end of 2014, and the berths are offered for sale on a freehold basis – a rare proposition in superyacht marina construction – with several attendant benefits including citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis.
St Kitts lies less than 50 miles from both Antigua and St Martin, putting it in a prime location right at the heart of superyachting in the Caribbean. The Christophe Harbour development, though, is set to offer far more than a superyacht stopping point, and the extensive property that extends across most of the southern peninsula of the island already boasts The Pavillion – a private beach club developed by the Christophe Harbour team – significant real estate plots, and a forthcoming golf course set on and around the headland at the southern side of the harbour entrance.
The man behind the project is Buddy Darby, a developer who is also a highly experienced superyacht owner. ‘We’re investing $90 million over the course of the marina build-out,’ he says. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of our marina lives. We’re not here just to celebrate commencement of construction, we’re here to celebrate a yachting industry. The marina will be without fail the heartbeat of Christophe Harbour community. It’s been a while coming, but it’s a great time for us to be entering the marketplace. We are also full steam ahead on designing the marina village and that will far surpass that $90 million investment as well as creating hundreds of jobs.’
Spearheading much of the marina development is marina business development manager Aeneas Hollins, himself a highly experienced former superyacht captain. ‘One of the overriding feedbacks I get from various boatshows is that people are looking for a new destination in the Caribbean, a new opportunity,’ he enthuses. ‘Our style of destination marina is something that is on the rise – a guest-driven experience where the owner is honoured in the marina environment, similarly with the family experience – they are all things that we’re working on.’
The development brings with it significant benefits to the island of St Kitts, and the government has a 30 per cent stake in the project. ‘We are here to mark the construction of the Christophe Harbour marina. In truth, what is taking place here involves so much more,’ says the Prime Minister of St Kitts, the right honourable Denzil Douglas. ‘As Prime Minister my primary objective includes the ongoing expansion of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities federation wide. I understand the role that the marina will have in the unfolding of the Christophe Harbour vision, and we all understand the appeal it will have for international travellers in general, and yacht owners in particular. Most importantly, I understand the importance of an expanded and expanding Christophe Harbour plot and expanded services to the maintenance of the positive growth trajectory which we in have been able to produce in spite of the reality of a global recession. Firm step by firm step, the Christophe Harbour vision is unfolding. Project by project, the Christophe Harbour vision is being transformed into a reality.’
With megayachts a relatively new phenomenon for the island, there has been the opportunity to establish working practices and conveniences from the ground up. The international airport has recently opened its own full-service private terminal, and Christophe Harbour will also form a Port of Entry, with its own customs and clearance station on site.
Having toured the property extensively and seen the plans for further development, it is clear that Christophe Harbour is set to become one of the most significant projects of recent times. Several of the Phase One berths and much of the real estate plots have already been bought, and there is little doubt that the new marina will put St Kitts firmly on the map as one of the most desirable locations in the Caribbean.