London & Regional, a UK-based property company owned by brothers Richard and Ian Livingstone, plans to invest more than $500 million to develop a luxury Cuban resort, which could be the single largest investment in the island since the Caribbean nation began normalizing diplomatic ties with the United States — half a year ago.
According to Financial Times, the 1.5 million square foot joint-venture project is called Carbonera. The resort is located 65 miles north of Cuba’s capital Havana, near the Varadero beach resort. The Cuban state-run company Palmares SA would hold 51 percent ownership in the venture. The resort is being developed with Canadian and European clients in mind. The developers also hope to cater to US clients in some distant — or near — future.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that the lifting of the US embargo could push the number of tourists visiting the island well over 6 million, double the present amount.
“We’ve long liked Cuba, and signed this deal before the US talks began, ” Ian Livingstone told Financial Times. “I think the Cubans see it as something of a pathfinder project.” He estimates the total build-out value of the resort to be more than $500 million.
The Livingstone brothers are no strangers to the region. They are presently developing a $700 million mini-city near Panama City called Panama Pacifico, involving 250 acres of commercial development and 20, 000 homes.
London & Regional Properties was established in 1987 by the brothers Richard and Ian Livingstone. One of the largest projects undertaken by the London-based property company is the redevelopment of the Elizabeth House hotel in Central London, a venture estimated to be $930 million. The company holds a property portfolio worth £9 billion.
Brothers Richard and Ian Livingstone own many high-end hotels, commercial as well as residential properties in London. They also own prime properties in Europe, South Africa and South America. Forbes estimated their combined net worth to be around $4.5 billion.