JIS News

The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) is set to undertake a number of projects, which will provide thousands of housing solutions across the island for public sector workers and young professionals.

Minister with responsibility for Housing in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, made the announcement during his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral debate on Tuesday, May 21, in the House of Representatives.

He informed that Cabinet recently approved the award of a contract by the HAJ in the sum of $390 million to construct 173 studio units at Whitehall Phase 3 in Westmoreland.

Cabinet also endorsed the construction of 604 one-bedroom units and 980 studio units with associated infrastructure, on approximately 119.4 hectares (295 acres) of land in Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine, through public/private partnership.

“The project will be built in six clusters. Provision will be made for commercial and recreational facilities, office space, educational facilities, a police post and a post office. It is anticipated that each studio unit will be available at a cost of $4 million and $4.9 million for each one bedroom unit. We are building not just houses but communities,” Dr. Guy said.

He noted that over 80 per cent of this development has attracted the interest of potential purchasers, 30 per cent of whom are public sector workers and young professionals.

He also informed that Cabinet has given approval for requests by the HAJ to enter into public/private partnership agreements for the delivery of 778 housing solutions in Grange Pen, St. James; and 176 solutions in Hopewell, Hanover, both of which will be developed mainly for tourism sector workers.

Another such agreement will facilitate the development of approximately 200 starter/studio units in Colbeck, St. Catherine, again targeted at public service workers and professionals in the Spanish Town to Old Harbour areas.

“An MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for Shooters Hill in Portmore, St. Catherine for another 600 solutions will be presented to Cabinet shortly,” Dr. Guy said.

In the meantime, the Minister noted that the Government continues to pursue all avenues to bring private capital into the housing market.

“As such, the Bernard Lodge Project, which is the largest to be undertaken by HAJ, will be financed and constructed by a foreign investor, Malphrus International. The capital outlay will be approximately $5.6 billion to be expended over three years,” he told the House.

He noted that construction works will also be advanced at Belle Air 3 in St. Ann and a contract for similar works at Luana Gardens in St. Elizabeth will be signed later within this fiscal year.

“When completed, these two projects will conclude the Jamaica Economical Housing Programme financed by the Chinese EX-IM Bank,” Dr. Guy said.

Contact: Latonya Linton