The Southeast Coast Feature

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The Rebirth of Juan Dolio

Children and adults alike were in awe as giant machines spit out tons of sand onto Juan Dolio beach in 2007. The rebirth of the beach, which goes for 2.5 mi, has led to the rebirth of the entire resort area, which has been targeted by the tourism authority as a site for first-class resorts and amenities.

Steven Ankrom, director of sales for Metro Group, a pioneer in upscale development in Juan Dolio, explained: "The beach is breathtaking now, particularly in front of the Costa del Sol condominiums. The government cooperated by marking property lines so that part of the beach is private to each project, meaning [that] guests can sunbathe free of vendors and hair-braiders."

For families, the increase in the number of luxury condominiums has been a big hit. The proximity to Santo Domingo (about 45 minutes away) and Las Américas International Airport (20 minutes away) equals convenience. Retirees are drawn by the good prices and low oceanfront insurance rates.

The Metro Group, headed up by visionary Dr. Luis Jose Asilis, was the first investment team willing to take a chance with major projects here, including the 18-hole Los Marlins Golf Course and adjacent Metro Country Club, which are now surrounded by luxury homes and apartments. Guavaberry Country Club has followed with its own course and country club, positioning the area as a golf destination, and not just for capitaleños. The Embassy Suites, which is adjacent to Metro Country Club, was built in 2003 in part to offer good lodging for visiting golfers, as well as prospective real-estate buyers.

The Costa del Sol condominiums, completed in 2006, now have an extension, Costa del Sol II, next door. Nearby, Club Hemingway's private restaurant is at the end of a pier, offering both quality cuisine and great views.

Other resort/residential structures being built are the final two towers of Marbella; the first of three opened in early 2010. Another burgeoning area is Guayacanes, just west of Juan Dolio, where the trendy beach restaurant Café del Sol opened for Embassy Suites' guests and members of the Metro Country Club. (The public can also go there on weekdays.) Las Olas, Metro Group's newest dream project, with 16 floors and 227 apartments, is being built nearly next door.

Six miles farther east, Costablanca by Metro (www.costablanca.com.do) is being built. This latest and most ambitious undertaking is a residential/resort community with an 18-hole Greg Norman signature golf course as its major draw. The first nine holes are expected to be ready for play by late 2010, and the back nine by early 2011. The course will have 10 exceptional holes on the water. There is a beach, and a luxury marina is also planned. Metro's 600 acres will also house the Chris Evert Tennis Center. She will be on-site several times a year to play exhibitions. A beach club and golf club will round out the facilities. The first residences, the Founders Club villas, are underway, with other villas, townhouses, and sleek, high-rise condominiums to follow.

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