Published: 06:00, 07 May 2021
Developers behind a luxury seafront scheme at a site left derelict for two decades say almost all of the first apartments have already been snapped up.
Blueberry Homes started work on the Royal Sands development in Ramsgate last year with phase one now almost complete and the phase two apartments in the process of being fitted out.
Bosses at the Thanet-based firm say phase three is now under construction ahead of schedule.
"The last six months of lockdown have been difficult for many people," a Blueberry Homes spokesman said.
"Despite all of that, we are pleased with the demand for the Royal Sands Ramsgate development.
"Having sold nearly the whole first phase off-plan since the autumn, this has been such a great endorsement for the project, with now just a handful of apartments left in the first phase.
"Our aim is still to finish the first apartments in phase one early this summer.
"Phase two will be officially launched in due course, as it has been built and is in the process of being fitted out.
"These apartments will be available to purchase off-plan soon.
"We're also delighted to confirm that, due to demand, phase three is under construction ahead of schedule, and will be at roof height in a matter of weeks."
The Royal Sands scheme involves the creation of 106 luxury apartments, a 60-bed hotel and leisure facilities, including shops and food outlets.
The hotel, which will be at the Wetherspoons end, will be one of the final parts built in the £50 million redevelopment project at what was the old Pleasurama site.
The plot on the seafront has been empty since the former funfair was destroyed in a fire in 1998.
A development proposal was approved 16 years ago, but after years of inaction and ownership issues, the site remained derelict and neglected.
Blueberry Homes, run by Martin Rigden, took over the site and started work last July.
The firm is also behind several other regeneration schemes in Thanet including the Old Gas Works in Ramsgate and Margate, and the new Aldi supermarket.
A report was published last week by Property Market Index.com which found demand from Londoners wanting to snap up seaside properties as a result of the pandemic would lead to house prices surging in coastal areas.
It stated that towns including Margate and Ramsgate - listed as two of the most desirable areas in the latest Property Market Index Rating - could even see some beachfront houses command £400,000 more than those located inland.
The first phase apartments of Royal Sands are priced from £399k up to £750k.
Findings suggest a combination of more people working from home due to Covid and the subsequent need for more space at an affordable cost, as well as a fresh desire to leave the urban confines of a city after months of lockdown, is driving up demand for beach properties.
The report said stamp duty holiday extension and the reintroduction of 95% mortgages is also pushing more people to take the plunge and leave the city.
Blueberry Homes bosses say coastal towns have been outpacing London in terms of property price increases and so Royal Sands apartments would prove an investment for many.
The spokesman added: "Interestingly, despite lockdowns, we are seeing further demand for the development in relation to the hotel, leisure and café culture that will form part of the fabric and feel of Ramsgate seafront and its Royal Harbour.
"There's a real sense that this seafront location is becoming a vibrant, culturally rich place to live, play and enjoy along with its immense history and maritime heritage."