Captive dolphins to be used to entice holiday home buyers

29An Indonesian developer says Singapore buyers are showing keen interest in a project promising villas built over the sea, with dolphins at the residents’ doorsteps. Batam-based developer PT Batam Island Marina and its Singapore investment partner Seven Seas FID are planning 64 villas, each shaped like a round bamboo hut and built around a lagoon with dolphins which residents can feed and play with. Priced at $758,000 each, the villas were launched here two weeks ago with a blaze of advertisements showing dolphins leaping out of the water, and the Marina Bay Sands skyline on the horizon. The project is coming up in the midst of six small islands known collectively as Pulau Manis, 3km off Batam. Each villa has two bedrooms and is about the size of a Housing Board executive flat. The developer has promised shops and restaurants nearby, but has been mum about maintenance costs and whether residents must pay for the dolphins’ upkeep. Half the units went on sale at a swanky showroom in the upmarket One Degree 15 marina on Sentosa two weeks ago. A visit there found the place buzzing at the launch.

A team of about 10 salesmen dressed in suits attended to a steady stream of walk-in prospects, showing them a multimedia presentation, artists’ impressions and a scale model of the villas, before discussing the financing plans over snacks, coffee and soft drinks. According to Funtasy Island Development, a Singapore firm set up in 2010 to market the dolphin villas and other homes on Pulau Manis, there is no shortage of buyers. Director Michael Yong declined to give exact figures but said the initial sales “exceeded expectations”. A Malaysian with Singapore permanent residency, he owns 30 per cent of Funtasy Island Development. The rest is owned by Indonesian businessmen Ade Soehari and Luky Winata. The project is coming up in an area owned by PT Batam Island Marina. Foreigners cannot own land in Indonesia but can be granted 25-year leases which can be extended in 20-year blocks. The Indonesian company has promised on its website to renew Funtasy Island’s leases up to 2112.

Full story: AsiaOne Business


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