Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New real estate policy?

Manuel Marrero, Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, says that the government has approved and will soon release a new “real estate development policy associated with tourism, fundamentally golf courses, marinas and other complementary tourist investments linked to tourism.” Here’s coverage from BBC, AP, and AFP Spanish.

For years there has been talk of golf course developments with real estate mixed in, and I have noted the rumors here many times, mainly as they appear in the British press. This is the first time I have seen a Cuban official address the subject.

If it pans out, it will be a concrete move to attract more foreign investment and to allow Cuba to compete in a new market segment. Reportedly, when it comes to golf/condominium development, the sticking point has been Cuba’s prohibition on allowing foreigners to own real property. And reportedly, discussions have focused on a solution that would instead allow long-term leasing – 50 years, with 25-year renewals – that allows developers to recoup investment almost in the same way as a straight sale.

We’ll watch the Gaceta Oficial to see what the minister has in mind.

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