Global Sound –
Oceania Properties – Own a Piece of Paradise
The largest of the 365 mostly uninhabited islands of the 120 mile Exuma Archipelago, Great Exuma stretches effortlessly across the Tropic of Cancer about 300 miles off the South Florida coast, and 130 miles southeast of Nassau which is the capital of The Bahamas. The magnificently tropical Exumas average a balmy temperature of 26 degrees Celsius or 79 degrees Fahrenheit daily.
This summer was my day of discovery in which I had the opportunity to visit the lifestyle opportunity of this premiere destination. Much to my pleasure I was graciously extended a tour of the spectacular Exuma by local developer and resident of thirty years, Howard Obront, along with his trusted and loyal comrade Shelton “Gulf ” Morley. As a man of all seasons, Gulf was a ton of fun to have around as a tour guide, boat captain and story teller.
Having had his hand in the development of the well known February Point, Obront is now venturing on in the latest gated community known as Oceania Heights.
Keeping in touch with the culture and tranquillity of the island, Exuma has regulated that no more than 30% of the island may be developed, protecting the islands purity and well-preserved condition for the future. Still, absolutely everything you would need is at your fingertips. I certainly couldn’t think of anything further I would need and the absence of fast food chains unquestionably couldn’t harm anyone. “If you want nothing, you have it. If you want to find something you can,” says Obront knowingly as he sits to share with me his past, his future and his visions for the island and for Oceania Properties. His passion and inviting personality are enough to open my mind to the possibilities of what this seventh heaven has to offer.
Well respected among the population of Exuma, Howard Obront has a vast knowledge of the comings and goings of the island. Celebrities such as Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and even Bill Gates all have properties within the area. Johnny Depp is no stranger, having stayed in one of the Oceania Properties villas while filming ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 3’. Even on my brief escape, a fellow traveller was sure to have sighted Reese Witherspoon enjoying the seclusion with her family. For celebrities who experience the constant pressure of the paparazzi, as well as the many other stresses that accompany their careers, the islands are a haven allowing much needed tranquility in their lives.
Doctors are found to be congregating rapidly to Exuma as well. In fact, although the development is still in its early stages, at last count, all six of the existing Luxury Hill Top Villas, with breathtaking panoramic ocean views, were found to be owned by physicians. Presently, six more magnificent Custom Estate Villas are being built – these too are for physicians. Also in a high-stress career, doctors from near and far seem to have been let in on the secret of the peace and relaxation found in Exuma. Renowned Miami cardiologist and author of ‘The Reality Diet, Fighting Fat With Fibre’, Dr. Steven A. Schnur of Mount Sinai Medical Center, spends his valued free time relaxing with his wife and two children at Oceania Heights. “People positioning themselves here are among the friendliest and most neighbourly in the world and have chosen Exuma as the ideal place for their second home and eventual retirement,” states Obront with a smile on his face that translates into an unspoken confidence in the luxurious serenity that is Exuma.
Having a corporate or personal address in the gated community of Oceania Heights, in The Bahamas, not only provides opportunities to live an exclusive island lifestyle with world class amenities but it also provides the opportunity for generating tax-free income through appreciating property as well as the rental pool program. As many investors are aware, real restate is a tangible asset, which appreciates in value as you enjoy all the benefits of a vacation home. The July issue of ‘The Bahamas Investor’ states that on one of the islands the appreciation of condo values is approximately $ 300,000.00 from start date, and they haven’t even been completed yet. One year ago a canal lot on Paradise Island sold for $ 1.5 million and is now selling for $ 2.2 million, an amazing $ 700,000.00 profit in one year. With The Bahamas tourist industry enjoying constant, sustained growth with more sophisticated resorts, more facilities and services, more and more opportunities for investment are showing up, giving further reason to investigate the Islands’ potential for investment.
In the premiere issue of Exuma Visitors Guide, Glenn S. Ferguson writes, “In the last five years, there has been a dramatic growth in real estate investment and development. The crowning jewel is the $ 100 million Emerald Bay development premier Four Seasons Resort with 183 rooms and a Greg Norman designed golf course. This development has resulted in real estate investment prices rising between 45%-60% per year but you must act quickly to ensure the best investment returns.”
As the world’s premier tax haven, The Bahamas offers the perfect investment opportunity as there are no personal, corporate, income, capital gains, estate, gift or inheritance taxes. Easy access to major world markets, political stability, security and economic opportunities are all a reality of business in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Since 1977, the Bahamian dollar has been linked 1 to 1 with the U.S dollar and both are used interchangeably throughout the island. In fact, I found that anytime I was to pay with Bahamian currency I was usually given American currency as change.
Nassau, capital of The Bahamas, is a leading international offshore banking center with over 400 banks. Second in the world only to London in the number of financial institutions it holds, Nassau is renowned for its laws guaranteeing banking confidentiality. The Bahamas is trusted by individuals and corporations from all over the world. Of the some 15,000 companies registered in The Bahamas over 90% are foreign. Money, in The Bahamas, is both accessible and discreet.
The Bahamas has been named “the best financial centre in the western hemisphere,” by the global magazine, The Banker, Minister of Financial Services and Investments the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson revealed in February of 2006. Additionally, “Other than the United States of America and Canada, we have the highest standard of living in the hemisphere,” states the Hon. Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Now voted one of the top three international destinations in the world by The Washington Post, the island of Great Exuma, Bahamas is attracting attention not only from international media, but major resort developers, such as Four Seasons Resort at Emerald Bay. Still, the only sounds you will hear walking around Oceania Heights are the singing birds, the waves lapping on the shore and the gentle breezes rustling through the palm trees. This paradise within a paradise truly captures the elegance of luxury living all the while maintaining an exclusivity that is intangible.
With all the amenities of a first class resort, Oceania Heights offers a welcome escape from the hectic pace of everyday life, while offering all of the conveniences of home. Rental and real estate contact Alexandria “Zandy” Turtle exceeded our expectations making sure our villa was stocked with fresh fruit, drinks and flowers. It was wonderful! As I wandered out the French doors of my bedroom onto the secluded terrace of my villa, I became conscious of the luxurious privacy and the unsurpassed ocean view. The comfort of such peace and quiet I found to be priceless.
When evening came we dined in beautiful locations such as The Four Seasons or the ever popular Coconut Cove, which offered a beautiful view of the beach, swim up bar and the sun setting on the Atlantic Ocean. Coconut Cove owner Pam was more than hospitable offering conventional Bahamian fare such as blackened grouper or roasted lamb as well as traditional American lobster, pizza and ‘cowboy’ steak. Without hesitation I would have to recommend the shrimp cocktail, if nothing else.
“The deep sea fishing is great here,” tells Howard Obront’s brother and Miami trial attorney, Curt Obront, who joined us one evening for dinner. A frequent visitor of Exuma, Curt enjoys his time spear fishing on the reefs for his lobster dinner or bone fishing on one of the many flats nearby. If you like your seafood fresh, this would be the way to get it. However, if you aren’t adventurous enough to catch it on your own, you can watch your fresh conch salad being prepared along the shore of Stocking Island. This was an experience in itself for me.
Beyond the exquisite dining and secluded beaches, Oceania Properties offers a fabulous tennis club with well lit courts to allow for play at any time of day or night. As well, the state of the art fitness centre will help you stay on track with your training and self-care regimen. The front gates of Oceania Properties, operated by courteous security staff, maintain a feeling of privacy and security although you can rest easy knowing that this island maintains a zero percent crime rate. Oceania Heights guests and residents also enjoy special access to the Greg Norman designed golf course and full-service spa facility at the Four Seasons Resort. From daily housekeeping services to 24 hour security for peace of mind, Oceania Properties “offers everything including things you’d forget to ask for,” says Obront.
Surrounded by culture, beauty and genuine hospitality, the island seemed to radiate certain “energy”. When the time came to head home I could see why so many are choosing to make Oceania Heights their home away from home.
It has been noted that when Christopher Columbus landed on the island years ago he was taken by the friendly smiles and accommodating people. Even today, this way of life on Exuma remains constant. With visions of rolling hills and spectacular panoramic views tucked safely away in my memory I look forward to my return when I can relive those memories.
For profit or pleasure, many of the worlds leading professionals have chosen to invest in this tax free island paradise and once you have been there, even for a moment, it is exceedingly clear why.
Amy Lynn Crawford wrote this article for Toronto Elite Magazine. See www.oceaniaproperties.com. for photos accompanying this article.