Sunday 18 August, 2019

623 more gated housing solutions in the works for Portmore

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) presents Director, Rite Solutions Development Company, Owen Campbell (2nd right), with a signed copy of the joint venture agreement for the provision of 623 new solutions under the Shooter's Hill Housing Development project in Portmore, St Catherine, at Jamaica House on Thursday. Others (from left) are: Chairman, HAJ, Norman Brown; Minister without Portfolio, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr; and Director, Rite Solutions, Vincent Taylor.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) presents Director, Rite Solutions Development Company, Owen Campbell (2nd right), with a signed copy of the joint venture agreement for the provision of 623 new solutions under the Shooter's Hill Housing Development project in Portmore, St Catherine, at Jamaica House on Thursday. Others (from left) are: Chairman, HAJ, Norman Brown; Minister without Portfolio, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr; and Director, Rite Solutions, Vincent Taylor.

Construction is scheduled to begin by December on 623 new solutions under the Shooter’s Hill Housing Development project in Portmore, St Catherine at an overall cost of $7 billion.

This development is being facilitated through a joint venture agreement between the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and Rite Solutions Development Company.

Under the public-private partnership, housing solutions, starting at $7.6 million, are to be built on 157 acres of elevated land, primarily for low and middle income earners.

The development is in keeping with measures by the Government to address a deficit of approximately 20,000 housing solutions yearly.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who signed the agreement along with principals of HAJ and Rite Solutions at Jamaica House on Thursday, said the costs of the units to be provided are “fairly reasonable”, especially for young professionals.

“I think these are very affordable. I can see the young nurse, the young policeman, the young university graduate immediately just waiting to get one of these (units).

“I want them to know, those persons who are leaving university, a year or two out of university, getting themselves settled, that the Government understands. We know what your ambitions are, and we are putting in place the necessary programmes to allow you to achieve your goal of owning your own home,” he said.

The prime minister stated that the lowering of the interest rate to zero for National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors who earn $15,000 or less per week, has increased the demand for housing.

“We have made the market bigger and now we are… ensuring that we are actually putting solutions on the market,” he said.

For his part, HAJ Chairman, Norman Brown, said Shooter’s Hill “with its elevated location, panoramic views and gentle breeze, will undoubtedly add a new dimension to HAJ’s suite of housing projects in Portmore, for which the market eagerly awaits.

“We fully expect this project to be completed on time and within budget, as this is the standard we have set for ourselves,” he added.

In his remarks, General Counsel, Rite Solutions, Christopher Honeywell, hailed the partnership with the HAJ “in the provision of affordable and good quality housing solutions”.

He said Cabinet was instrumental in providing the guidance and leadership that went into the structuring of the joint venture agreement, “which ensured a speedy and efficient take off” of the project.

The Shooter’s Hill Housing Development, which is to be done on a phased basis over a three-year period, is to be a gated community featuring communal play areas, commercial space and a police post. Phase one is to have the lower priced solutions, while phase two will have solutions with higher prices and more upscale finishes.

With lot sizes ranging from 4,000 square feet to 6,500 square feet, the development is to be comprised of 100 one-bedroom starter units at a cost of $7.6 million; 200 two bedrooms, one-bathroom for $11.5 million to $12.5 million; 220 two bedrooms, two bathrooms ranging from $13.5 million to $14.5 million; and 103 three bedroom split-level units at $17.5 million.

There are also to be water storage on site, and each unit will have a solar water heater.

The public-private partnership entailed the ‘design, build and finance’ model in which the HAJ puts up the land as equity, along with its technical, legal and marketing skills, and the partner will design, build and finance the development, which the HAJ will then sell and share the profits.

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