Almost three years ago, the owner of development company Nolan Hall told The Telegram the proposed Fields of Athen-ry resort project in Green's Harbour would attract a lot of high-end tourists.
Now, a Tudor-style mansion that was set to house a spa, restaurant and country inn is up for sale, with the remaining estate lots to be sold for development. That's because not enough people showed interest in buying the condominium villas associated with the project.
"We had, out of the 50 (villas), I would say 25 were (pre-sold), but that's not enough," said Kevin Nolan.
"If we didn't have the 50, we weren't going to move forward."
The project was linked to a provincial government resort property tax investment credit aimed at encouraging individuals and businesses to buy into resort properties. It offers a 45 per cent tax credit to those who invest in such properties.
Under the resort plan, the villas would have been placed in a rental pool for three-quarters of the year, with purchasers receiving a portion of rental revenue.
The 85-acre country estate consists of a fully furnished 9,000-square-foot mansion with 10 bedrooms, a triple bay garage with a partially developed studio apartment, an open plan arched-roof barn, an Amish-style horse barn, a secondary barn and garden sheds.
"For somebody, it will make an amazing country estate or a full-time home," said Nolan. "We're not selling a business."
The mansion was built in portions over the last 30 years, according to Nolan, though its interior was given a complete overhaul within the last two years.
The final decision concerning the feasibility of the resort was made last year, according to Nolan.
The country estate is now on the market for $2.65 million, while the 50 one-acre estate lots will be sold for prices ranging from $38,000 to $98,000. Most estate lots are either on or overlooking the ocean.
"For our company, it's less complicated to do it this way," said Nolan. "With the 50 villas, it was a 20-year program under the Newfoundland tax program, so it was longer term - much longer. This here is less complex for our company. Was there disappointment? Maybe for a minute. But all of a sudden, it's turned around with a new project. So it's not really a disappointment. You've got to understand, we're a real estate brokerage house. ... Our job is to sell real estate, and that's what we're doing."
While he remains confident that Newfoundland and Labrador is still a good market for resorts, Nolan said the province did not do enough to sell the tax credit program.
"A lot of people didn't fully understand it, and that makes it a little more difficult from a developer's point of view, to have to sell the provincial tax program."
Plans to sell the country estate were only recently publicized, and Nolan said two inquiries have thus far been made concerning the property.
Asked about what makes the property unique, Nolan said while it's a secluded site, Green's Harbour is within commuting distance to Long Harbour, Bull Arm, Argentia and St. John's International Airport.
"It's a property (where) someone could fly into St. John's from Europe, the U.S. or Upper Canada, and they could be there in 55 minutes."
He also makes note of its proximity to icebergs and whales in the summer and the wealth of mature growth within its gardens, including apple and pear trees.
"It's not something you'd expect. You drive up the driveway, and all of a sudden there's this stunning property that seems like it's own little world."
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