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Rental Investment At The River Club, Cayo, Belize

Double-Digit Return From This Sustainable Riverfront Investment

At last week’s Live and Invest in Belize Conference, developer and friend Phil Hahn presented a new phase of the Carmelita Gardens community he is creating in the country’s Cayo District on the banks of the Belize River.

Carmelita Gardens is a planned sustainable development where every house will be self-sufficient through the use of alternative energy and rainwater catchment systems. This is the first master-planned off-grid development in Belize, and it’s not just the “off-grid” element that makes the community “sustainable.” Carmelita Gardens has been planned to include communal gardens and orchards so that every home owner can grow his own food if he’d like. You could farm and garden all day every day if you wanted and live completely off the land…or you could be a “weekend gardener,” growing some fresh vegetables to complement your weekly visit to the grocery store. It’s up to you.

Having a mile of river frontage gives residents at Carmelita Gardens access to water activities, as well as a nice breeze to help cool things off on hot days. Now, along the river, on one of the river village lots, Phil has decided to build a small cluster of cottages to form The River Club.

The River Club will be a boutique eco-resort of 15 one-bedroom, one-bath cottages to fill the need for rental units both in Carmelita Gardens and the greater Cayo region. Many owners at Carmelita Gardens are starting construction of their houses and need places to stay when they visit to check on progress. In fact, some would prefer to live on the property full time while their houses are under construction. Right now, only one of the handful of finished houses at Carmelita is available for rent…and it’s full much of the time.

At the same time, demand for quality rental units in Cayo is increasing. Cayo is still a destination for the backpacker crowd, but more sophisticated travelers are now making their way here, as well. Right now, their options for accommodation are mostly US$250-a-night jungle resorts…and lower-end hotels and hostels. The new eco-rentals at Carmelita Gardens will fill the gap and offer an upscale, comfortable place to stay for a reasonable cost.

In theory, you could live in one of these 512-square-foot River Club cottages; however, they have been designed primarily as rentals and with the investor in mind. They will be built using the same sustainable technology as all other structures at Carmelita Gardens, including solar electricity, treated catchment water systems, and eco-friendly septic. Each unit will come fully furnished and with appliances installed, ready to rent.

The first six units of The River Club have already been reserved. The remaining units range in price from US$63,000 to US$69,000 (the difference in price has to do with proximity to the river).

Amenities at Carmelita Gardens include stables, river sports (tubing, canoeing, kayaking), a medicinal trail through the jungle, and a swimming pool. In addition, The River Club will have access to a café and spa facilities on an adjacent commercial site.

Based on current and expected demand and assuming a reasonable nightly rate, the projected annual yield from these units is 10%. Plus, owning one of these River Club units would give you a ready place to spend time in one of the world’s most appealing get-away-from-it-all destinations.

If that’s something that appeals to you…and you’re in the market for a good rental investment opportunity…I’d recommend following up on this quickly. As I said, inventory is limited.

Lief Simon

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