Defining The Property Boom
The Phuket Gazette.
Riding a bull market is never an easy thing, and at times could mimic one of those mechanical contraptions that threw many aspiring cowboys into dazed 'n confusionville.
Looking back at my time on the island, it's hard to view more of a high water market for resort real estate then the middle part of the decade, when the world was indeed a gentler and kinder place.
Birds could be heard singing most mornings and anxious buyers were eagerly transacting as demand far outstripped supply in what could be said were halcyon days.
Success for many is a highly subjective thing, but for me, a pair of expat developers – perhaps more than anyone I can think of – set the bar for selling and delivering property into the hands of anxious buyers.
Brit Paul Moorhouse and American Don Taylor started off on the doorstep of Laguna Phuket with their ambitious Lakeshore Villa development when empty house lots still dotted the resort's golf course.
The migration of Hong Kong expatriates into the islands real estate market for a second home or retirement in paradise was still just a twinkle in the eye.
Taking up the idea that big was better, and relying on tropical designs, the pair came in at ground zero of what was to become a fanatic movement in the years to come. Next came a foray at Tinlay Place for Pepper's Bar and the former Lakewood Hills in what was considered only a Bangtao 'outpost' at the time. Now it has become a well recognized cornerstone of other nearby estates.
Size did indeed matter and Lakewood grew while setting new milestones for other developers to follow. Always ahead of the curve, they next set their collective ambitions on providing quality premium office space at Plaza Del Mar, which today plays home to a number of international businesses.
After many years of working together, the partners decided to move into the next era of their lives as Don ventured to Bangkok and finally Vietnam, in various real estate ventures in Indochina.
For Paul, scale was appealing, so he created Layan Gardens and later bought into Luna Phuket, both within a stone's throw of each other. Switching back from condos to pool villas, he worked tirelessly in attracting potential buyers at regional road shows and through advertising and promotions.
While the grind became just that as of late, Paul looked for smaller projects, such as redevelopment of a luxury villa in Cape Panwa, potential in the highly-charged Bangkok condo market and now a boutique property in Kata.
While both gentlemen now split their time in various parts of Thailand and abroad, from time to time you still see them in all of the familiar places in Phuket and suddenly it takes you back to how things once were in boomtown.
Succeeding in business in your own country is hard enough, but coming to a strange land and making your mark is not only an accomplishment, but also a sign of willingness to take risk, work endlessly and believe in what you are doing. Hopefully a little luck also trails behind you, like those beaming rays of sunshine on a cloudy day.
Phuket has its share of success stories and there are far too many to recount in this column, but Don and Paul somehow embody the spirit of success that continues to lure budding entrepreneurs to Asia and should continue to do so for many years ahead.