A furore is building over the cancellation of Nikki Beach Lofts in Panama, as clients are told deposits are months away from being refunded.
The beachfront project on Playa Blanca, just 75 minutes west of Panama City, Panama, was one of three being sold at the site under the world-famous Nikki Beach brand. The iconic brand was launched in 1997 in Miami, Florida, and has since opened more than 20 locations around the world, including Cannes, Thailand, Greece and the Caribbean.
Prospective buyers in Panama were promised a beachfront fantasy in “the sexiest place on Earth”, as the project’s tag line reads, with no fewer than 68 lofts with floor-to-ceiling windows, panoramic ocean views and the exclusive Nikki Beach lifestyle.
Today, clients of the residential projects are being told that the project is now dead in the water, and the deposits collected on the promise of that dream are not available to be refunded.
“I had to call the office myself to find out what was going on,” said one angry buyer who wished to remain anonymous, “they didn’t even have the courtesy to inform us that the project has been cancelled.”
“Then I was told my deposit money was not available, and I would have to wait at least another month while they collected on their hotel/condo projects, before they could pay me back.”
Correspondence sent to the Nikki Beach Ocean Loft buyers by Joaquin Arias of Destiny Real Estate, which is in charge of marketing the project, states quite plainly the reason for the delay: “We have just received the occupancy permit for the condos and we are focusing our efforts on the closings.”
“In essence,” added the disgruntled investor, “they are using my deposit money to fund their other projects – giving themselves interest-free financing of the most unethical kind.”
The lofts were marketed as one of three residential options on Playa Blanca, Panama, in addition to a condo-hotel, and luxury residences. Today little sign exists of the Nikki Beach Ocean Lofts save for a few Panamanian real estate sites hawking the theoretical 12-storey buildings, and the barest of mentions on the Nikki Beach Hotel website:
“[The] Nikki Beach Resort & Spa will feature one- and two-bedroom condo-hotel rooms for sale as well as luxury lofts and condos.”
The cancelled Nikki Beach Lofts is just the latest in a spate of abrupt withdrawals and failures in Panama, which include the much-touted Ice Tower on Panama City’s Balboa Avenue, the Park 32 project in Costa del Este, Loft One, Loft Two, Plaza Obarrio, Plaza Costa Del Este and Palacia de la Bahia, which many fear will have a dampening effect on the country’s thriving real estate market.