Prime Fijian large-scale tourism sites for sale

5:00 AM Saturday May 27, 2017 True Commercial

The entrance to the gated community on Naisoso Island. Photo / Supplied

Four separate adjacent large-scale tourism sites on the Pacific coastline close to Nadi in Fiji are for sale.

The quartet of freehold properties is located in the emerging luxury island enclave of Naisoso Island, on the periphery of Nadi, immediately across Nadi Bay from the entrance to the Denarau Island tourism and hospitality hub.

Bayleys Fiji managing director and partner Philip Toogood says the portfolio of properties could be tendered for individually, as one ‘super lot’, or in any combination of sites.

They’re being offered for sale by a process called International Published Reserve Tender, as vacant development sites and form part of the Naisoso Island Master Plan. Naisoso Island is a luxury resort, residential and commercial destination.

In an unusual move, the tender reserves for three of the properties are being made public — not only setting a minimum benchmark the vendor will accept, but also providing developers and investors with key data inputs for preliminary due diligence undertakings before the tenders close on the June 29. The fourth development site is already under contract.

The sites are allocated to development opportunities, as follows:

  • Already under contract, 4.6269ha designated for the establishment of a four or five-star hotel or resort complex. The site has the potential to accommodate a three-storey hotel with up to 178 apartments.
  • 3.9922ha of beachfront lot designated for the establishment of a five-star hotel or resort complex. The site has the potential to accommodate a three-storey hotel with up to 270 bedrooms. The tender reserve has been set at F$11.85 million net.
  • 2.3887ha of beachfront lot designated for the establishment of a four-star hotel or resort complex. The site has the potential to accommodate a three-storey hotel with up to 202 bedrooms. The tender reserve has been set at F$7.08m net.
  • 3094sq m of riverfront land designated for the establishment of a ‘wellness centre’. The tender reserve has been set at F$1.5m net.

Toogood says the vendor reserves the right to consider any offers before the tender process closes. Any prior offers will need to exceed the reserves, and be unconditional except for any condition precedent linked to statutory process under Fiji law.

“The ‘published reserve’ process, supported by 2016 valuations, aims to ensure prospective purchasers are very clear about the vendor’s price expectations and sale motivation,” Toogood says adding that VAT in Fiji is 9 per cent.

The two remaining beachfront lots are located on the north-western face of the island. Utility services — including power, water and fibre optic telecommunication cables — are on the island for connection to the properties, with effluent disposed of to the Navaki Sewerage treatment facility on the mainland.

Naisoso Island has already seen an investment of more than F$114m, with the northern portion of Naisoso Island developed into three high-end residential precincts with virtually all of the individual lots sold and many of those already built on.

The surrounds of Naisoso Island comprise a relatively compact residential settlement, conservation reserves, and further inland, the Nadi International Airport and Nadi Golf Club.

The beachfront resort/condominium blocks for sale on Naisoso Island have uninterrupted views of the Mamanuca and Yasawa Island Groups and across to Denarau and Vuda. Vehicular access to Naisoso Island is via a F$6m bridge off a private bitumen-sealed road off the main highway in to and out of Nadi.

Naisoso has been developed over the past three years by Australian property entrepreneur Bob Lowres.

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Naisoso Island offers buyers prime freehold coastal land close to Nadi. Photo / Supplied

Obvious destination

“With Denarau now almost fully developed from a commercial accommodation and hospitality infrastructure perspective, Naisoso Island is the obvious destination for resort developers and operators seeking prime freehold, correctly zoned, coastal land with all services, close to Nadi,” Toogood says.

“The closeness of Naisoso to Denarau ‘as the crow flies’ makes it feasible here will be the establishment of a regular ferry service between the two destinations within the foreseeable future.

“With aquatic transportation links to the outer islands leaving from Port Denarau, along with the golf course as a visitor attraction, a ferry service across the estuary would ensure Naisoso’s resorts deliver a more laid-back feel to their guest offering.

“The consenting scope for development of the hotels on the landholdings for sale — most notably the density and height restrictions — have been applied under the Nadi Rural Town Planning Area framework,” Toogood adds.

“These construction guidelines underpin the area’s future relationship with the sea on one side and the forested hills on the other and ensure any building development is ethically undertaken.”

Latest visitor arrivals figures from the Fiji Bureau of Statistics record that for the year to March 2017, the total number of visitors to Fiji increased year-on-year by 3.6 per cent. Almost three-quarters of visitor arrivals were holiday-makers. Australians made up the biggest visitor groups by nationality, with New Zealanders second and North Americans third.

Combined, Australian, New Zealand and North American holiday-makers account for 83 per cent of Fiji’s tourism earnings.

Additional data from the Fiji Bureau of Statistics also shows that the country’s earnings from tourism totalled F$471.5m for the final quarter of 2016. This was up 15.3 per cent, F$62.6m, compared to the December quarter of 2015, and has been credited to an increase in visitor days.

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The vacant development sites form part of the Naisoso Island Master Plan. Photo / Supplied

F$2.2 billion spend

“For some four decades now, Fiji has generally been seen as a stable holiday destination from both a climatic and geo-political perspective. General sentiment in the accommodation sector is that this trend will continue at historic growth levels — which are ‘steady’ rather than ‘spectacular’ compared to destinations which are ‘hot’ one year and ‘not’ the next.”

Fiji’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade earlier this year laid out a programme to build visitor numbers and spend to F$2.2 billion over the coming four years.

Fiji Tourism Minister Faiyaz Koya has said one of the keys to achieving this growth target was through greater diversification of product offering — alluding to the accommodation sector in and around Nadi.

“Government aims to work with stakeholders in elevating the tourism sector,” he said.

“The objectives of the plan are to expand visitor expenditure and tourism yield, create a conducive environment for a sustainable increase in visitor arrivals, and support the development of sustainable and inclusive tourism sectors.”

Toogood says such government sentiment is a positive endorsement for the long-term growth of top-end accommodation venues such as those allocated to three of the commercial landholdings on Naisoso Island.

“Denarau is in the same position some 30 years ago and its hotels are close to capacity during peak holiday seasons. With more global hotel brands operating in locations world-wide, Naisoso offers those chains not already with a presence in Fiji an opportunity to grow not only profile but also revenues off the back of rising tourism trade,” he says.

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto has also spoken about the need for more large accommodation providers in the country’s key geographic locations, such as peripheral Nadi.

Speaking at the opening of a Chinese-backed hotel venture on Fiji’s Coral Coast region, Toogood said tourism had two primary ingredients: “One is aircraft capacity and seats and the other is the bed availability. As we increase the numbers (of incoming visitors) people are going to have to stay somewhere.”