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Aug 21, 2015

SanCas Realty Unveiled in Belize

Christie’s is one of the world oldest and most prestigious art auction houses, but it is also a certified powerhouse in the real estate industry – high-end real estate. That’s why it’s big news when this giant comes to town, and it has…partnering with a local top-shelf merchant brand, the San Cas Group, to form San Cas Realty – Christie’s International Real Estate. The new entity is based in San Pedro, and a launch mixer was held on the island Thursday night. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Rain Terrace in San Pedro was the venue for a mixer held to launch San Cas Realty – Christie’s International Real Estate in Belize. And the setting was apt, because this group is going to be operating near the top of the real estate market – higher end property from one point five million up. The idea was born with Lorena Gomez, President of the San Cas Group of Companies. Since they own a lot of prime real estate and recognized an opportunity was theirs to grasp.

 

Lorena Gomez

Lorena Gomez, President, San Cas Group

“Christie’s is one of the biggest art auction houses in the world. So we were friends with these people, and owning the property that we have on the northern end of Ambergris Caye, we started talking to Rick, who is the Vice-President of Christie’s and thought that it was a great time and the opportunity was right to bring Christie’s to Belize with San Cas Realty, so that’s how everything unfolded.”

 

Rick Moeser, Senior Vice-President, Christie’s

“We’re always looking for the next best thing. Most of the Caribbean has been done, most of this coastline – Tulum to the north and Mexico has been done, and it’s Belize’s turn, in our opinion, to be the next best place to go. And we want to be involved from the ground up to take this market for the next twenty or thirty years.”

 

Rick Moeser

Christie’s, renowned as one of the world’s premiere art auction houses got into the real estate business twenty years ago. Vice President Rick Moesner said they made the decision to come to Belize because the time and market are right, and like Lorena Gomez, they recognized and appreciated the opportunity.

 

Rick Moeser

“It’s going to bring a whole different set of eyes to Belize – investors looking for property…not just residential but for commercial development. You’ve got some of those pristine, beautiful beaches and landscape in this whole part of the world and it has that appeal for the Caribbean customer and also that Latin American person so it’s the best of both worlds.”

 

Moeser says that for him it’s exciting to be in a place that’s just developing as opposed to a market that has already been discovered and developed. That way, Christie’s will be able to play a vital role in showing Belize to the world. And he’s certain that the people who use Christie’s will buy in.

 

Rick Moeser

“You’ve got people who are looking for the next best thing, who are looking for raw land, who are looking for property they can purchase and hold on to. Or it’s the developer who wants to build condominiums, houses or wants to develop a hotel. You never know. Very often the bar that we work with is someone who has more than one home. They’ll have something in the Bahamas, in the Caribbean, something maybe in Mexico and then they want to come here. In their eyes you’re spending fifty cents on the dollar and getting fantastic beach and an opportunity for their investment to increase.”

 

According to Santiago Castillo, a principal of the San Cas Group and also Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the country can only benefit from the entry of a high-level player like Christie’s. And it’s good for the San Cas Group too, because increased competition has brought with it the need to diversify.

 

Addy Castillo

Addy Castillo, San Cas Group

“We must accept that business has not been easy at all. There is much more competition in our business and I am sure you know that. The Chinese are taking over Belize when it comes to our type of business, and to fight them is not easy. But guess what…we are not going to throw in the towel. And we are fighting them and we are going to be very successful.”

 

Santiago Castillo, SanCas Realty

“The advantage we have is that my brother Gil has been in the real estate business for a while, and that is why he returned to Belize after being away for some years and he will be running San Cas Realty – Christie’s International Real Estate, and already you can see when you arrived at the San Pedro Airstrip, we are building a commercial centre here, the San Cas Plaza here in San Pedro. It will be strictly for rent. That is one of the first projects we are doing as the San Cas family because we feel that it is time to diversify.”

 

Santiago Castillo

Lorena Gomez

“My mom has been my travelling partner for the past ten years, and having travelled to Africa and Morocco and different exotic places around the world, more and more seeing what all these places have done, my mom said – well, why not Belize – so when I told her about the Christie’s idea she was like I trust in you guys if you know what you’re doing.”

 

Addy Castillo

“When you know how to run a business it doesn’t matter what business you run, the fact remains that your skills are there and you know what you’re doing, and that is important to run any business at all.”

 

The company will be in direct competition with another prestigious brand which recently came to Belize – Sotheby’s – an art auction house which also made the transition into real estate. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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