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(JUAN DOLIO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC) -- The Dominican Republic's largest bank is betting a $1 billion resort under construction will trigger new tourism dollars and create new jobs in the country.

Banco De Reservas De La Republica Dominicana is lending $20 million to Luis Jose Asilis and his 40-year-old Group Metro company to complete construction on Costa Blanca, a planned 52-villa golf and beach community in the Juan Dolio Beach region.

The bank may have a good bet as 45 of the multi-million-dollar villas already have been sold in the project's first phase.

"The board of directors is committed to the growth of the real estate market in the Dominican Republic," says Daniel Toribio, the bank's general manager.

"More specifically in the tourist areas," Toribiio adds. "They are pleased to partner with Group Metro, a respected company in the real estate and construction industries."

Costa Blanca spans 580 acres along the coastline of Juan Dolio Beach, 20 minutes from the Santo Domingo International Airport.

"The 52 exquisite Founder Residences are moving along at a rapid pace, most recently reaching the roof lines," says Group Metro's Asilis.

The 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Golf Course is also nearing completion.

"The irrigation system has already been completed for the first nine holes and we expect them to be ready for grassing before the end of the year," Asilis adds.

He says the Founder's Club sales package includes a 4,500-square-foot private villa, two condominiums, access to a private boat slip in the marina and membership to the community's golf club.  The villas offer golf, bay or marina views. 

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