- The amount of cruise passengers that visit Willemstad has been increasing over the past years
- The amount of stay-over tourists from Europe, North and South America is on the rise
Why invest in Willemstad?
- Local interest in living downtown has been increasing
- The Curacao government is supporting this development and is shaping this together with private and public partners within the context of the Kingdom
- There is a large volume of areas and buildings available for development
- The recent development of Pietermaai is a great example of which corporate and cultural-historical chances can be created by restoration and reviving an area
- Real estate prices are still attractive and negotiable
- There are attractive fiscal incentives and available subsidies, for example the subsidy for restoration of listed monuments (up to 60% of the cost!)
- Great variation in the kind of investment opportunities and the size of the required investment
Otrobanda, or ‘the other side’, started developing in the second half of the 18th century. It is now the largest city district, divided into many smaller neighborhoods, each with their distinct charm and unique character. Along the coastal strip there is always something fun to do, while the alley area has held on to its historical residential function. The neighborhood known as Ser’i Otrobanda is being discovered by young creative entrepreneurs, who are combining living and working in the same area.
There are a multitude of tourism development opportunities in Otrobanda, from small bed & breakfasts to take-over or new build medium sized hotels. Due to some large employers opening up in the area, like the new hospital and the large Corendon resort, demand for residential units is expected to keep increasing. Around the new hospital a variety of care functions will be concentrated, which offers possibilities for the development of multi-generational and care focused residential projects.
Currently there are between eight to ten projects offered in Otrobanda, among which a few large hotel projects, but also smaller projects with a potential residential or commercial function.
Punda is the heart of Willemstad, a lively shopping district that is attracting many unique souvenir shops, mini-museums, brand clothing stores and charming bars and restaurants, from trendy coffee shops to the local barbecue joint. This is the oldest district in Willemstad. The historic Fort Amsterdam and the iconic, colorful Handelskade (trade dock) illustrate that Punda has always functioned as the center of trade on the island.
The residential function of Punda decreased strongly during the second half of the 20th century, but is seeing a careful resurrection. Many of the empty top floors above the shops are one by one being converted into luxury apartments for habitation and tourism, especially in the quieter alleys. Further tourism development is planned next to the Waterfort, starting with a city beach. Adjacent Fort Amsterdam the former Plaza Hotel is available for an investor with a vision of combining retail with a residential or tourism function.
One large hotel project. Multiple commercial office and retail spaces.
City district ‘Scharloo’ can be divided in the harbor area and the business center along Scharloo’s main street. In this area impressive mansions that have been restored as office buildings are flanked by the occasional villa that is still waiting to be rescued. In the second part of the 19th century mostly Jewish entrepreneurs build their elegant residences here. A little later, in the early 19th century, laborers started building their wooden houses up the hill behind these mansions in a unique architecture with intricate wood working and galvanized roofs.
The area just next to the St. Ana Bay – Skaló Abou – is very much in motion. This is a colorful collection with a lot of street art, co-working sports, small retail and lunch rooms. Designers and artists are finding their way to this area to live and to work in. In the coming year this area will get an important face-lift. The warehouses along the harbor will be torn down to make room for high-end apartments. The rest of the waterfront is also designated for residential and tourism development, with special emphasis on creating a link to the natural environment in the area.
The projects in the area include retail / office functions, as well as multi-functional buildings suitable to entertainment. This will become of increasing importance as the area develops further. For most of these projects a hospitality function would also be suitable.
While Pietermaai is known as the nightlife area of the city, it is so much more than that. It first developed as a suburb of Punda, some distance from the city wall. After the wall was demolished in 1860, urbanization of ‘Pietermaai Smal’, the area between Pietermaai and Punda, connected the two districts. After decades of abandonment and decay another page was turned at the beginning of the 20th century when restoration projects started, geared towards student housing. With this different types of hospitality venues also opened in the area. In more recent years a lot of boutique hotels and excellent restaurant and clubs have opened. By developing a number of stylish residential projects in the area of Pietermaai Smal the objective is to create a better connection between Punda and the entertainment center of Pietermaai. For the entire coastline projects have been planned, including a large hotel at the beginning of the Penstraat.
Around three projects are available in this district, one in the Pietermaai Smal area and the others on the coast. Two of the projects have potential to be used residentially or as a hotel and two of the projects are suitable to other companies in the hospitality sector, for offices or a retail function.