One example was Baan Karon Paradise, a complex of 49 apartments on a hillside above Karon Beach, five minutes’ walk from the sand. It was already in trouble in 2006, and was pretty much finished off in 2008.
The past three years have been a battle for the investors, who have, in that time, managed to persuade the courts to give them possession of the project, and to get the financing to finish it off, an example in sheer persistence that others may want to learn from.
The project is now to be reborn as the Dewa Karon Beach, a resort managed by Swedish entrepreneur Lars Ydmark’s Tri-Asia, which already runs the successful Dewa Resort at Nai Yang Beach.
There is also a property element: the last ten apartments to be built are for sale.
All the apartments have kitchenettes, which Tri-Asia sees as a plus for couples and families. The units on the upper floors have sweeping sea views over Karon Beach.
The apartments range from one bedroom units through two-bedroom units to the Grande Karon Suite, a large one-bedroom unit on the top floor.
The deal, Mr Ydmark told The Phuket News, has taken a year to structure, but has now been signed, opening the way for the owners to get access to less expensive funding; resorts run by established management companies are much more attractive to banks than moribund property developments.
Work is currently under way to add in the elements necessary to create a resort – a restaurant with bar, and a wrap-around swimming pool, along with a mini-mart and free wireless internet access.
Dewa Karon Beach is due to open on November 1 this year to coincide with the traditional start of the tourism “high” season.