We caught up with Darren Gibson, CEO of Luštica Development, one of Montenegro’s newest developments, to hear about the latest addition to the country’s luxury yachting landscape.
Superyachts.com: Can you give us a brief background to Luštica Bay and what people can find there?
Darren Gibson: “Luštica Bay is an inspiring project site; a wonderfully secluded area along the Luštica peninsula, where rolling hills cascade down to an idyllic coastline. Its 690-hectares will be sensitively developed into a fully integrated, new town in Montenegro with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
“We first broke ground and started the construction of the first apartment buildings in mid-2013. Today, it’s an emerging town, located along Montenegro’s Luštica Peninsula, offering waterfront residences, hotels, marina berths, golf & lifestyle facilities. To date, it’s the largest investment project in Montenegro, with the projected investment value of €1.1billion.
Based on the existing Master Plan of the development we expect Luštica to become a place of permanent residence to a few thousand homeowners year-round upon completion. The initial phase of approximately 4.5 million square meters in land area, foresees the construction and completion of more than 2,500 properties including apartments, condo units, villas, and townhouses, seven hotels, two marinas, a signature 18-hole golf course and a range of public facilities including a school and a medical facility, commercial spaces, and leisure facilities.
“While being an operating destination since 2015, the year 2018 marked a significant milestone in the continuous development of Luštica Bay, as the doors of the first five-star Hotel, The Chedi Luštica Bay were opened, along with the opening of the first phase of the main Marina, which today provides berthing facilities for 84 vessels of between 6 and 35 meters length, and will ultimately accommodate up to 176 vessels within the coming few years.”
SY: How would you describe your client base?
DG: “Our client base is very diverse in profile, counting close to 40 different nationalities as part of our buyer pool; however, we do receive most traction from Western Europe, Russia & CIS, Middle East and Balkans, both in terms of leads and sales materialization.
“Currently, Montenegro is attracting a lot of international attention due to the recently launched state run program that envisions acquisition of Montenegrin citizenship on the investment basis. Citizenship by investment offers individuals the opportunity to obtain Montenegrin nationality, in return for an investment in the country’s real estate, plus a donation to fund aspects of its development.”
SY: What can you tell us about your residential properties available to buy?
DG: “We presently have properties available for purchase including both ‘off-plan’ and fully constructed properties in both the Marina Village and Centrale (the future town centre of Luštica Bay). The current offer in the Marina Village includes apartments, town homes and villas ranging from off plan through different stages of completion, with the majority being fully completed last summer. We also have a number of the Chedi Residences, an exclusive hotel investment condo product, available within the five-star Chedi Luštica Bay. Prices in the Marina Village currently range from around €300,000 for studio and condo apartments up to €2.5 million for exclusive sea view villas.
“On the other hand, the construction of buildings in the Centrale area started in December last year, with the first handovers being scheduled for October this year. These properties have proven very popular and newly released apartments are now available for off plan purchase. Centrale is set to become the beating heart of Luštica Bay and coastal Montenegro, the commercial and administrative hub, culture centre and gathering space. Properties in Centrale are currently listed for sale from €126,000 for studios, up to €320,000 for 3-bedroom apartments with external yards.
“All properties in Luštica Bay are state-of-the-art both inside and out, embracing high standards in terms of design and finishing and offering world class amenities. Built from the local materials in soft hues, they evoke the region’s traditional fishing villages. Sitting organically within the landscape in tightly woven structures, they form a patchwork of striking terracotta roofs, stone walls, staircases and courtyards, expansive terraces, wooden shutters, deep-set windows and arched doorways.”
SY: What retail offerings do you have in the marina village?
DG: “From fashion, beauty and jewellery, to homewares and antiques, together with restaurants, wine bars, grocery store and bakery, our Marina Village caters to the wide-ranging needs of both residents and guests. For those health & wellbeing conscious individuals, we also have a bespoke studio offering HiiT, spinning and yoga classes.
“For the more culturally orientated, a boutique art gallery showcases a diverse collection of exhibitions, from both locally and internationally renowned artists. We’re also home to a variety of Marine service providers, including marine sales and charter operations, sea and shore-based tours, and chandlery services meeting most specialized boating supplies and accessories needs.”
SY: There are other marina villages in Montenegro – what sets you apart from the rest?
DG: “In Montenegro, we are undoubtedly unique in terms of our offer, product mix, value for money proposition and the integrated master planned nature of our development, sets us apart. In specific terms, our open sea location, with extensive coastline and beaches, our 18-golf course (the country’s first), our striking and varied topography enabling mountain and water views from most areas, are but a few of the key factors that resonate with our residents and guests.
“But this isn’t just a destination for holidaymakers. More than that; we are building a town with all the facilities one would need for comfortable and convenient living, including a school, medical facilities, supermarket, banking, parks and other leisure facilities (court-based sports & swimming centre) and numerous other personal services and facilities; all accompanied by and supported with modern infrastructure. We are truly redefining the residential landscape not just in Montenegro, but across the Balkans.”
SY: Finally, are there any plans for growth and development over the coming years at Luštica Bay?
DG: “Absolutely! We’re currently working very hard on developing and promoting the Centrale segment of the project and while establishing this as the heart of the development, we will in parallel continue with the construction of new residential areas in the Marina Village and the Golf Village, six new hotels, a sizeable secondary mooring area with fuelling dock and International Port of Entry facilities and our golf course, which will undoubtedly be among the most spectacular in the world.”