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2021 March April Marina World

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WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENTS The site for Marina Santa Cruz, just north of La Paz, Mexico is well-sheltered and offers three coves for landside development. Balancing land use, economics and destination appeal Achieving the best balance of land uses to protect the natural qualities of the waterfront that draw visitors and buyers while still achieving appropriate financial returns is the key to a successful waterfront development. This is also the key to navigating the entitlement process, where working with nature to protect the environment that makes our sites desirable while also creating sustainable employment opportunities for the local community can help overcome opposition to the project. Establishing the correct development density and product mix to achieve the highest returns is obviously more than maximising the total number of units for sale or berths in the marina. We need to ensure that we achieve the highest overall value by balancing the product types and development densities with the highest values the market will support, which is directly related to the quality of the waterfront and natural features of the site. The first step is to be sure we have a thorough understanding of what makes our project site special, and how the market for the various products we intend to offer compare to competing projects in the region. The real estate/property and marina market analysis is critical in determining what the market will bear and what can be achieved, and most importantly funded. We then determine how those products can best be organised on the project site to be sure we protect the key natural features while maximising potential revenues from product sales. As real estate markets evolve over time, we often implement a range of product types in the early phases to allow market demand for each product type to help shape the course of future phases. While it is tempting to begin development on the best parts of a site, we can often achieve higher overall values by saving some of the best development sites for later in the development cycle after we have established a strong market position and can command higher prices. As we refine the initial master plan through the entitlement process, our goal is to transform environmental limitations into special features that distinguish the project from others. For example, a stand of protected mangroves along the shoreline that might otherwise reduce the number of berths that can be provided can be featured as a way to provide additional privacy and buffering between berths and more active areas of the waterfront. Working with entitlement agencies to identify opportunities to cluster higher density areas than might otherwise be allowed to protect sensitive natural areas or cultural resources can create Placencia Belize Marina and Resort is a huge environmental restoration project as well as an ambitious commercial venture. – March/April 2021 35

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