WATCH: Ground broken for major housing development in St Catherine
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right foreground), along with East Central St Catherine Member of Parliament (MP), Alando Terrelonge, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Catherine Estate housing development in the parish on Wednesday.
The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) on Wednesday officially broke ground for the 1,650-unit Catherine Estate housing project that is to be developed in partnership with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
The project is expected to provide 1,650 houses - 850 duplex studio units with an average size of 273 square feet, and 800 detached one-bedroom starter homes at 367 square feet. Each housing unit is to be configured for upward and outward expansion.
The projected selling prices are $5.5 million for the studios and $6.6 million for the one-bedroom units, subject to market conditions.
Chairman of the HAJ, Norman Brown, stated at the ground-breaking ceremony that “The Catherine Estate project is a perfect representation of the HAJ’s mission, which is to ensure Jamaicans from all walks of life have access to high-quality houses.
“The creation of formal housing developments and homeownership in general, carry so many social and economic benefits to the homeowners, their families, the communities and Jamaica, by extension. Therefore, with each new housing development, we get one step closer to realising our collective goals as a country,” he added.
Spanning a total of 253 acres of land in the vicinity of March Pen Road and Quarry Hill, the development is being recognised as one of the largest affordable housing solutions to be built in St Catherine since the development of Greater Portmore in 1992.
Gary Howell, Managing Director of the HAJ, also weighed in on the project’s official start, noting that, “I hope the public does not look at Catherine Estate as just another housing development, because it is so much more than that.
“This project is creating well-planned, sustainable and holistic houses for many of the people who would ordinarily not be able to afford their own homes. As a result of our collaboration with CHEC, we will ensure that 1,650 regular, working-class Jamaican individuals and families will become proud homeowners, and that is something we should all celebrate.”
Dangran Bi, CHEC Jamaica’s Country Manager, chimed in that “Decent and affordable housing is very important if we are looking to build families. We are making that promise to build homes and create a community where Jamaicans will be proud to raise their families. We see all over the world how decent and affordable shelter is woven into better opportunities for children and their parents, and we are very happy to be working with the Government of Jamaica and the Housing Agency of Jamaica to provide this for almost 2,000 families.”
The symbolic ground-breaking for the Catherine Estate development on Wednesday.
Catherine Estate is to be developed in six phases with fourteen clusters. Each cluster is to be served by essential community amenities, such as sidewalks, grocery stores, recreational spaces and walking-distance access to public transportation.
The development is also to have reserve land for the development of a primary school, secondary school, church, police station, health centre and a central commercial facility.
The event’s keynote address was delivered by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, with attendance also by St Catherine Members of Parliament (MP), Alando Terrelonge, Fitz Jackson and Dr Andrew Wheatley; and Spanish Town Mayor, Norman Scott.