DP Fox Rebuilding Paradise

February 10, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — After working for four years to get the permits and everything else in order, DP Fox Ventures LLC is now breaking ground in paradise.

This paradise, known as EleutheraIsland, is a 110-mile long, 2-mile wide isle of warm white- and pink-tinted sand and lush green vegetation in the Bahamas

Actually DP Fox is building at Powell Pointe, which is at the northernmost tip of CapeEleuthera. The Cape is situated on the southern portion of the island and is flanked on both the east and west by the Atlantic Ocean

DP Fox Ventures founder and co-owner Dan DeVos discovered Powell Pointe in 1989, and he knew right then that at least part of his future would involve CapeEleuthera

"'Eleuthera, it's not for everyone.' On my first trip to Eleuthera in 1989, I was offered this bit of island wisdom by one of the local fisherman," wrote DeVos in an introduction to an informational booklet on the island.

"What some would have taken as a word of caution, my family and I saw this as an invitation to enjoy a corner of the world that few knew existed," added DeVos, who owns DP Fox with Pamella, his wife.

Despite being only about 50 air miles from Nassau, Eleuthera has been largely ignored by tourists and developers for a long time. But today the isle is undergoing a resurgence.

The founder of Pan American Airlines, Juan Trippe, opened the Cotton Bay Club there in 1959, and the resort quickly became a playground for wealthy Americans. But subsequent hurricanes and the demise of Pan Am sent investors to other nearby islands, until recently.

Continental Airlines began servicing the island last year with flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, after investment dollars returned. And DP Fox has been doing its part to revive tourism on the island.

Doing business as Cape Eleuthera Resort Unlimited, the firm has undertaken a multi-million dollar project that includes a marina and townhouses on 4,500 acres on Powell Pointe.

"We've broken ground on the redevelopment of the marina and also three different housing types. One is a townhouse, which has two bedrooms and 1,200 square feet of air-conditioned space with 350 square feet of covered porch space. We've got 35 of those along the marina," said David Green, executive vice president of DP Fox, who has logged a slew of air miles as point man for the project.

"There is an estate lot product, which will ultimately be a custom home product. Then we have Beach Hill, which will be three different models with interior packages. Those are 2,000 square feet."

Green said the design of the homes is known in the profession as Key West architecture, but the style actually first surfaced on Eleuthera. Osprey Construction of Nassau is directing the project and Tom Pope of Key West, Fla., is the lead architect.

"There are different types of architecture on the island today. But if you were to look at the older architecture, it's very, very similar to what we're proposing to do on our project," said Green.

"This is a four-year build-out. But we expect occupancy in the first 10 to 15 town homes this coming fall."

Green said technological advancements have helped lower the cost of the development from what the price tag would have been if the firm began construction in 1989. Being able to produce water cheaply through reverse osmosis is one innovation that has paid for itself.

"For this project, we can literally set up our utility compound 200 yards away from the beginning of that Powell Pointe development," he said.

"In the past, we would have had to spend a lot more money up front to fire up the well field and bring in water from a far distance."

Chris Blackwell, who started Island Records, has been singled out as the one person most responsible for Eleuthera going from a sleepy little island to an active tourist destination. He restored an old resort there, and suddenly musicians, models, and others in the entertainment industry were spending time and money in paradise.

"He has really fueled the rebirth of that island. It's very popular these days," said Green. "A lot of people are looking beyond the congestion of Nassau for something a little more laid back and casual on the family islands."   

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