$8.4b Rhyne Park Housing

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TURNING THE SOD: Signalling the start of construction of Rhyne Park’s $8.4 billion housing development by jointly turning the sod are (from left): General Manager of Henan Fifth Construction Group (HFC), Baoguo Chen; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett and Housing Agency of Jamaica Chairman, Norman Brown. – CWP photo

Some 754 families and individuals hoping to have their own homes, will have that opportunity over the next three years through an $8.4 billion investment at Rhyne Park in St James.

Ground was broken for the development last Friday with Prime Minister Andrew Holness heading the list of those turning the sod. He said the mix of housing solutions will include 100 one-bedroom apartments at $7.9 million each; 60-two-berdroom apartments at $12.3 million each and 426 two-bedroom single family homes at $12.4 million each. There will also be 122 townhouses being sold at $14.5 million each and 46 three-bedroom townhouses for $18.5 million each.

The development is a project of the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) in a joint venture agreement with the Chinese conglomerate, Henan Fifth Construction Group Company Ltd.

The multi-billion dollar budget cost covers provision of residential amenities, as well as infrastructure of a road network, water supply system, drainage and central sewerage.

Prime Minister Holness stressed that the partners had to stick to the joint venture agreement and ensure the project finished on time and on budget, as failure to do so would not be a cost on the Government of Jamaica.

He noted, however, that given the terrain and location of the 96 acres, there were issues relating to access that had to be carefully considered and addressed by the St James Municipal Corporation, the National Works Agency and the HAJ. Approval has already been given by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA).


TOURISM WORKERS TARGETED

Member of Parliament for East Central St James and Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, welcomed the development, noting it would help to meet the growing demand that the tourism industry was creating in that area. Tourism workers, teachers and other professionals are being targeted for sale of the houses.

He said Rhyne Park would become part of a bigger dormitory community development which already has over 2,000 houses in another part of Rhyne Park and Rosevale. With ground to be broken sometime soon for a 1700-room Hard Rock casino hotel on the beach front opposite Lilliput, and another major development in the pipeline, Mr Bartlett saidthe accommodation subsector had to expand to meet the needs of the workforce for the over 6,000 hotel rooms that will be operating in the Rose Hall area.

Speaking with an interpreter, General Manager of HFC Baoguo Chen committed that as developer, the company which has an enviable worldwide reputation for quality and engineering production, would focus on meticulous construction to guarantee the smooth completion of construction work on schedule.

Financing has been approved by Bank of China, the design almost finished and the construction team already in place and 70 percent of the workforce will be Jamaicans.

Also speaking at the ground breaking ceremony were Chairman of HAJ, Norman Brown; Mayor of Montego Bay, Homer Davis; Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr and HFC partner, Patrick Wong, with Custos of St James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin giving the opening prayer.

While the Rhyne Park development will respond to the housing needs of low to middle income earners an existing informal settlement on the property will be integrated with the greenfield development.

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