Minor International will invest Bt5 billion to develop 15 ultra-luxury villas in Phuket this year while avoiding the Bangkok political crisis.
Tagged as The Residences by Anantara Layan, the villas range from four to eight bedrooms with commanding ocean views of Bang Tao Bay.
Jaya Ibrahim, a designer who has won global acclaim with headline projects branded as Aman, Park Hyatt, Setai, Capella and Chedi, is bringing his cultured touch to the development.
Size certainly is the new lead indicator, with built-up villa areas ranging from 1,500-2,000 square metres and averaging in the range of Bt300 million in price.
As a sign of market confidence, Minor has elected to construct all of the units fully, with work already under way and project completion expected by the middle of next year.
Minor’s Bill Heinecke has been a lead proponent of luxury hotel-branded residences, with highly successful offerings at the St Regis Bangkok and Four Seasons Koh Samui.
In 2012 the group purchased the Bundarika Resort at the northern end of Bang Tao, along with an adjunct vacant parcel.
The hotel received a major upgrade and was recently relaunched under the Anantara flag. The Residences has been integrated into the development.
During the global financial crisis, which had a profound effect on the broad overseas-dominated, resort-grade real-estate market on the vacation island, there remained a steady stream of both standalone villa sales and estate resales.
Since then new developments at the upper end have continued to edge forward, though key limitations of prime land and significant financial capacity have remained barriers to entry.
Phuket appears to have firmly established itself as the leading luxury market in Asia, with a long-sustained history of transactions, which well surpass those in Bali or any other regional destination, and a number of new projects coming up in the next few years.
What remains a solid business dynamic is that foreign direct investment, which has declined in Bangkok as the capital has been plagued by disruptive anti-government protests, has strengthened in Phuket.
New developments to look for include the Rosewood on the Patong headland, Point Yamu by Como, Park Hyatt on Koh Sirey, Layan’s Avadina Hills and Mont Azure Kamala.
Institutional investment in the market from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan reflects confidence in the sustained prospects for upscale property.
What’s also important is that international brand affiliations are expected to induce new demand in Phuket at the high end.
It is expected that the market will continue to perform at increased levels given the quality products set to come on stream, Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks, said recently.