|International media finally picked up the fact that Roco Ki is the second huge development in the Punta Cana area to fail. Punta Perla was the first and Cap Cana might be the third. They are falling like dominos and foreign property buyers are losing hundreds of million of dollars in Punta Cana real estate!!!|
Has the Vicini's, the biggest industrial group in the Dominican Republic forced investors out and stopped local media from reporting on Roco Ki after they invested USD 110 million?
What happened to all the foreign buyers who's deposits were supposed to be protected by escrow accounts......?
Several weeks back before the article in WSJ Dominican Watchdog wrote to both the Vicini's lawyer Leonel Melo and the responsiable of restructuring Roco Ki Mr. Richard Cichanowicz, but none of them responded!!
Below is how Vicini Group got involved despite there has been nothing in the international press about that. Dominican Watchdog wonder if all the small buyers was informed?
OMG (Does it stand for Ohhh My God...?)
Completing a firm-wide rebranding last year, the law firm formerly known as Oficina Melo Guerrero adopts the widely-used initials as its formal identity. Competitors and Clients agree that partner Leonel Melo earns the greatest distinction in the firm “because of the importance of deals” he is involved in.
“He is very well connected and is highly educated in Dominican law,” one client explains, “so he can handle absolutely everything concerning the evolving legal climate on the island.”
In 2009 the firm participated in the first successful Chapter 11 bankruptcy ever filed in the US for a Dominican company. Acting locally on behalf of JPMorgan Chase, OMG counselled the liquidation of telecom group Tricom to several creditors led by American investment group Amzak. The complex, multijurisdictional deal preceded approval of Tricom’s $650 million debt restructuring.
One important client for OMG is the Vicini Group. Last March Melo’s team advised Vicini’s acquisition of a stake in Shell’s divested Dominican lubricants distributorship, completed through a joint venture agreement and $100 million contribution.
That same month Vicini bought a $110 million interest in Roco Ki, a massive multiple-use tourist and residential complex under construction in Punta Cana, after many month of due diligence and negotiations. OMG performed these duties, as well as helped renegotiate the project’s more than $200 million financial facilities.
Cap Cana, Roco Ki golf developments in the Dominican Republic face uncertain futures
Nov 2011 / PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic – When I first learned I would be visiting Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, I was geeked to check out the Legacy course at Roco Ki, the oceanfront stunner by Nick Faldo.
Turns out, my excitement was way off-base. After opening to rave reviews in 2008, the course along the cliffs closed earlier this year, and I’m told the construction on the Westin hotel at the site has ground to a standstill.
Turns out, Roco Ki isn’t the only major development on the rocks in this luxurious golf destination in the Caribbean….. Punta Espada at Cap Cana terminated their TROON golf contract and the manager admitted construction on the Las Iguanas, the second Nicklaus course at Cap Cana, halted after just eight holes were complete. Those will be maintained, but he’s unsure when the course be finished.
“I can’t put a date on it,” he said. “I’ve heard a date too many times. It is one of those, ‘I will believe it when I see it.’ I believe the season here will be incredible. Hopefully the powers that be will recognize we need a second golf course.”
The truth is Cap Cana is too big to fail. Since breaking ground in 2002, Cap Cana has invested approximately $800 million in infrastructure and other improvements and has entered into contracts with aggregate value of approximately $1.5 billion for the sale of approximately 1,500 units of real estate properties. Throughout this period, Cap Cana has delivered more than 700 real estate properties to customers, including retail and developer hotel lots, condominiums and villas.
That would be a lot of angry millionaires if this mammoth development fell apart.
Re: Golfing worth it?
11 July 2009, 0:41 on Tripadvisor.com http://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g147293-i28-k2934543-o10-Golfing_worth_it-Punta_Cana_Dominican_Republic.html
I played at Roco Ki in late January and considered it a rip-off. Consider $240 greens fee; $40 for club rental and to top it off $25 for a fore caddy which I foolisly believed was included (silly me). It also cost $25 for taxi fare each way from my resort. All this and no lunch or on-course beverages were offered. I wrote a letter to Troon Golf telling them of my displeasure with being fleeced. I never heard back. Stay away from Roco Ki which charges Pebble Beach prices and offers nothing in return. I hope they go bankrupt!
1. Re: roco ki
06 October 2011, 9:25
they seem to be gone belly up since long years, before even anything been open, no new movement/progress seen there since a long time now.
About The Westin Roco Ki Beach & Golf Resort, expected to debut in summer 2008 in the Punta Cana region, will feature 300-plus lodging and residential units, a conference facility, water sports center, spa, 18-hole golf course, botanical garden and a museum of Taino artifacts that were discovered at Roco Ki. Details: Heather Keroes, Tel: 407-838-1704. Email: email@example.com.
Nothing has happened, wonder where all these Taino artifacts are today….?
New article from Wall Street Journal: The Westin Roco Ki resort in the Dominican Republic has languished incomplete since 2008. Vacation-home buyers have little recourse.
Vacation homes typically conjure up dreams of blue skies, pristine sand and crystalline waters. But for Richard Cichanowicz, buying property in paradise has become a nightmare.
In 2005 and again in 2007, the Reston, Va., program manager paid deposits for condominiums to be built at the Westin Roco Ki Beach & Golf Resort on the Dominican Republic's eastern shore. Years later, the resort languishes unfinished and out of money. Mr. Cichanowicz still is waiting for his condos to be completed, or for his deposits—totaling $675,000—to be refunded.
"We had visions of family vacations and inviting friends there," Mr. Cichanowicz says. "All of that has just been put on hold, seemingly indefinitely."
Caribbean vacation-home buyers, most of them American, have been learning a costly lesson: Unlike in most U.S. states, deposits in most Caribbean countries can be spent on construction rather than locked away in escrow.
That has posed big problems for would-be buyers at no fewer than six Caribbean resort projects whose developers ran out of money during construction, as the economic downturn caused sales to plunge and funds to dry up. Those stalled projects include the Westin Roco Ki, a Four Seasons in Barbados and a Ritz-Carlton in the Turks and Caicos Islands. A seventh resort, the Viceroy Anguilla, was completed but then foreclosed upon before villa sales closed.
At those seven projects, buyers paid roughly $300 million in deposits for vacation homes that in most cases still languish as partial structures of cinder block and rusting steel bars.
The woes of these troubled projects have cast a pall over the business model that spurred one of the Caribbean's largest resort-development waves in recent decades. "That model is dead for the next three to five years," said Rick Newton, founding partner of Resort Capital Partners LLC, an investment adviser specializing in Caribbean lodging.
Buyers have no hope of getting their money back from the major hotel companies whose names are attached to the projects—like Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Westin—because the companies simply manage and brand the hotels while developers sell the residences.
Representatives for Four Seasons and Westin parent Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. say they are disappointed in the status of the projects, and Starwood Hotels noted that hotel operators aren't responsible for the overall development. The Four Seasons spokesman added that in order to protect its brand and any buyers of Four Seasons-branded residences, the company has new conditions for prospective developers to meet. Ritz-Carlton declined to comment.
One hope for buyers is that the cash-strapped developers obtain new financing or that a new investor steps in and returns their deposits. Another possibility: Anyone taking over the developments might want villa buyers to complete their purchases in order to give builders additional funds to finish construction.
"This project will never get done unless the original buyers participate in it," says Mike Carretta, a New Jersey advertising executive who paid a $1.4 million deposit for a still-incomplete vacation home at the Temenos resort in Anguilla. "You're just not going to go out in this economic climate and find 30 new buyers for property like this."
Complicating matters, debt financing has always been tough to obtain in the Caribbean and some of the developments are tangled up in legal battles.
Also, many of the developments have deteriorated amid harsh Caribbean weather conditions, so restarting them would be expensive. At the Westin Roco Ki, for example, jungle vegetation was retaking the grounds and debris littered the beach when visited by a Wall Street Journal reporter late last year.
The project's developers and lenders are marketing it for sale and have drawn interest but not a final deal yet.
"Most villa buyers are hoping that a white knight will show up and finish their villa," says Matt Norton, an attorney specializing in Caribbean resorts for U.S. law firm K&L Gates LLP. "But the reality is that, with most of these guys, the money is gone."
The phased-payment plans in the Caribbean typically required a buyer to pay a deposit upon signing a contract. The buyer would then pay more when construction milestones were met, with the balance due at closing.
Buyers say the practice of using deposits for construction was highlighted in most sales contracts, but they didn't expect the projects to grind to a halt.
"I had never purchased an island home before and should have been more careful," says Mr. Carretta, who visited Anguilla often to monitor progress of his villa's construction.
President and Executive Consultant
September 2006 – Present (5 years 5 months)
Provide executive consulting services and serve as executive for clients including Amdocs Consulting, Roco Ki Corporation and TBO Capital.
- Process Engineering
- Program Management
Roco Ki Development Corporation Role:
Served as President; Roco Ki, a 2,500 acre real estate development initiative in the Dominican Republic, managed a 300 member team along with 200 vendors – Entrepreneurial initiative to save failing resort development company from bankruptcy.
Stabilized back officce and sales functions; restructured business plans, workforce, accounts payable and debt structure; Improved key processes including sales, procure to pay and record to report.
Implemented Abacus21 operations software.
Implemented new program management and leadership practices to integrate line organizations; Lead all operational functions; Supported efforts by ownership to find a new buyer; Worked to protect customer base contracts.
Dominican Watchdog Note: Now the big one million dollar question, How is the Vicini Group planning to handle the escrow accounts of all the small investors? Follow complaints and more news about Roco Ki here
Other failed or torubled developments in Dominican Republic