Sunday, December 21, 2014

Development

South Pacific: Why Retire When You Can Build an Island Resort?

An enterprising Australian couple have put their retirement plans on indefinite hold to create a labour of love: a luxurious resort on a small Fijian private island.

(Image Courtesy of Naisoso Island)

For Australian property developer Bob Lowres, retirement in a tropical paradise just wasn’t doing the trick. After a long career developing real estate in Brisbane, he thought he’d enjoy endless days of sunny relaxation in Fiji – what he found, however, was that doing nothing was, well, doing nothing for him. In an interview with the Courier Mail newspaper, Lowres said it only took him a short time to go nuts after he moved to the beautiful South Pacific nation in 2004.

“I came to Fiji to semi-retire, to slow down and do the occasional project back in Australia,” he told the paper. “But, gee, after six weeks here I was going nuts. I like one game of golf and one day of fishing and that does me . . . well, what do you do with the rest of the time?” The solution that he and his wife Libby eventually came up with was a daring one; buy one of the country’s picture-perfect islands and create a boutique holiday resort.

The island the couple settled on was Naisoso Island, blessed with long stretches of beach and plenty of lush green foliage. Found off of the main island of Vitu Levi, the island is sheltered in scenic Nadi Bay, a hotspot for expats and tourist resorts, and overlooks renowned natural havens, the Mamanuca Islands. The fact that the large 209-acre island was a rare freehold property in a country where leaseholds are more common only clinched the deal. After a lengthy dispute with another developer, he was able to secure the island for FJD $8M.

(Proposed Naisoso Island Development)

Lowres may have originally suggested to his wife that they “buy a little island and stick a main bure (Fijian hut) on it and some guest villas,” but the project quickly evolved into something far more sophisticated. And expensive – the large development, encompassing among other things 50-berth marina, 122 residential units, several 4 and 5 star hotels and resorts, and other amenities, will take until 2017 to complete and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Naisoso’s beauty and potential has attracted a number of major international companies to get involved, including the Peppers group of resorts.

Despite the large-scale nature of the development, Lowres has said that he fully intends to respect the integrity of the island and its natural habitats. He had a nearby mangrove area designated as a marine park, and said of the island that “I’ve got a pristine environment here. It has been untouched and I am not going to bugger it up.” There may be no peaceful retirement in the near future for Lowres and his wife, but in Naisoso Island, he seems to have found a true calling and the adventure of a lifetime.

Read the original article here: Courier Mail

Visit the website for Naisoso Island: Link

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