In the past couple of years Krabi in Thailand has witnesses quite a buzz in the real estate sector, particularly in the luxurious residential segment. This week, in an exclusive interview we spoke to Robert C. Reynolds, the Managing Director of a luxurious development, The Lai Thai Luxury Condominiums.
Can you tell us a bit about your group and your previous projects? Who are the promoters, and so on?
The owner of the project, Thai Treasures Co. Ltd has been in business for 19 years in Krabi, building the first luxury boutique resort, The Lai Thai Resort, which opened in 1996. The Lai Thai was named one of the Top 100 Resorts of Thailand. The owners have joined an internationally experienced team, Krabi Developments, to oversee the re-development of the resort.
The financial advisor is Sniper Capital of Hong Kong. Their Macau Property Fund is a publically listed company on the main board of the London Stock Exchange. Their projects include the Waterside a US$170m luxury residence property in Macau as well as other residential and commercial properties in Macau totaling over US$300m.
Construction of the project will be handled by the Mary Group of Bangkok, Thailand. The Mary Group has over 40 years of experience in construction of offices, schools, condominiums and luxury homes. Their customers include the nationwide offices for Bangkok Insurance as well as luxury homes in Krabi Province.
Krabi Consultants is the sales agent, the only licensed and registered real estate agent in Krabi. The company holds an international real estate license from the National Association of Realtors in Chicago, USA and is a Certified Residential Specialist. By far the largest and most experienced real estate agent in Krabi for over 10 years, it is western owned and managed and its principal a well known author and consultant.
All legal issues are handled by Surasak international Law Firm, of Phuket Thailand which has over 25 years of experience in real estate law advising clients such as Raimon Land, Tropical Homes Real Estate and numerous villa and resort projects.
Tell our readers something about your new project Krabi – the Lai Thai.
The Lai Thai Luxury Condominiums is a re-development of the Lai Thai Resort, from bungalow style rooms into luxury condominiums. The project is located in a prime central location in Ao Nang, the tourist center of Krabi. Within walking distance of the many restaurants and shopping, it is only 700 meters to the beach front. The setting faces off the main road, insuring privacy and peace and quiet, and the condos have stunning views of the famous cliffs of Ao Nang.
What are the choices of properties you are offering in Krabi – the Lai Thai? How many units have you sold in this project and what stage of completion is the project?
The condominiums will range from studio (40-47 square meters), 1 bedroom (60 square meters), 2 bedroom (98-122 square meters) and Penthouse at 147 square meters. All units are fully furnished with kitchens, TV, cable ready service, and wifi. The project has recently received its EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) approval and construction will begin in October of 2012 with completion slated for spring 2014. 20% of the units have been reserved, and the plan will be to raise the prices by the new year.
How accessible is the project for residents? What is the best way to get there?
The Lai Thai is located in the central tourist district of Ao Nang and well serviced by the airport bus, taxis, and tuk tuks, only 30 minutes from Krabi International Airport.
How long do you anticipate the possession of this project will take?
The scheduled completion date is May 2014.
Can you give us some salient points about the architecture and the floor plan of the units? What was your thought process while designing the same?
As a hotel owner and operator for over 15 years, we have noticed a change in the requirements of our clients. Larger family groups require multi-room facilities with kitchen services for their children and multi-generational groups. We designed the project into 3 buildings of 4 storeys, centered around a half Olympic pool and garden Jacuzzi. The first floor units will be garden units, while the 2nd to 4th floors will have spectacular views of the cliffs of Ao Nang.
What is the clientele you are looking at to buy a property here?
Historically the northern European clients account for about 30% of the tourist arrivals to Krabi as there are direct flights from Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen to Krabi. So we have focused on this market with sales representatives in Sweden and Norway. However, the last few years have seen a growing presence from the Asian markets and we are focusing on those areas as well.
What are the amenities/ services you will be offering within this project?
The Lai Thai has over 15 years experience of operating a 4 star resort. The facilities will include a half Olympic pool with Jacuzzi, fully equipped fitness center, food shops and massage service, 24 hour security and rental management service.
What are the resorts or hotels in close proximity to your project?
The Lai Thai is located in the central tourist zone of Ao Nang, where a majority of the resorts, restaurants and shops are located and are within walking distance.
Will you be providing any rental to the owners when their properties are vacant?
The buyers of a Lai Thai condo can take advantage of our 15 years of hotel management experience and established clientele to rent out their units through the hotel. The Lai Thai will retain its hotel operating license to provide the owner of the condos the option to rent out their units as they please. The Lai Thai will also offer a Guaranteed Rental Income Program of 7% per annum for three years.
Is there any service like key holding or providing a caretaker if an owner uses his property as a vacation home for guests in order to earn some money?
The Lai Thai property management team will work with outside operators and agents to provide rental services for their clients.
Do you see investing in second homes as a good option from the perspective of financial returns? What kind of appreciation can an owner expect if he were to invest in your property over the 3, 5, 10, 20 year horizon?
With over 15 years of experience in Krabi, we have seen consistently good investment returns in this area. The market compares favorably to other more crowded and developed tourist destinations in Thailand as it is less developed and consider a new frontier for investment.