JAMAICAN INFORMATION SERVICE (JIS) – Hundreds of prospective homeowners on Wednesday, August 14, turned up at the Kingston offices of the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) to participate in the Bernard Lodge Estates Development Open House Day.
Located in St. Catherine, the Bernard Lodge Estates development is approximately five minutes drive from Spanish Town Square. It is bounded by Highway 2000 to the South, in the vicinity of Lime Tree Grove, Quarry Hill, and March Pen Road.
The development, which will comprise 1,584 housing solutions, inclusive of studios and one-bedroom units, will be built in five phases.
Speaking to journalists following a tour of the floor plans and model units, Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy said the development will assist in meeting the targets of providing affordable homes for Jamaicans.
Costing just around $4 million for the studio units and approximately $4.9 million for the one bedroom units, Mr. Guy reiterated the Government’s commitment to provide suitable and reasonable priced housing solutions.
“Particularly in this (economic) climate, when there is not much funding to go around, if we can get cheaper units for our clients, then that would be a win-win for us,” he said, adding that the project can be considered as a “flagship development”.
He noted that public/private partnerships, as well as the introduction of new technologies and building systems are necessary in ensuring more units are built for Jamaicans.
“There are many more in the same vein which are following. We have Memoranda of Understanding which have been signed with other developers, local developers who are going to be pursuing development along the same model as Bernard Lodge,” he added.
Providing a breakdown of the development Senior Manager, Sales, HAJ, Gary Howell, said 980 one bedroom units as well as 604 studio units will be built at the location.
He told JIS News that the development is possibly the lowest “lower to middle income development in the market at this time”.
“We recognise that many persons cannot afford two bedroom units. So we have given them a start with the option to expand over time as soon as their finances have become better,” he said, adding that this is another major step in providing an opportunity for people to own their own homes.
He informed that persons who may need additional information regarding the units should contact the Housing Agency of Jamaica Sales Department at 968-7522-4.
In an interview with JIS News, a participant at the open house, Ann-Marie Bryce, said through the development, she is one step closer to owning her own home.
“It is a good idea for us small people to own a home and (while) the money (may sound a lot initially) it will work out (over time as owners have the opportunity) to expand…it might look hard now to find the money to pay down on a one bedroom and your family is more than just you. But at the end of the day it (will) work out…It is just for me to come up with my deposit and I’m good from there,” she said.
Another participant, Marcel, said the development will fulfill many Jamaicans dreams of owning their own homes.
“It is a wonderful thing to mek nuff people know that they can have their own house,” he said.
Visitors to the open house were able to view the floor plans for the units, view expansion plan options, see the phased plan for the development, and also purchase into the development.
Representatives from financial institutions such as Bank of Nova Scotia, and Jamaica National Building Society were also on hand to provide financial and mortgage advice, as also representatives from furniture store, Courts.
Construction of the project will take place over three years, with Phases 1 and 2 slated for completion in March 2014. Phases 3, 4, and 5 will be completed by mid-2016.
Each studio unit will measure 267 square feet and one bedroom units 370 square feet. The average lot size will be 3,300 square feet. They will be expandable and outfitted with laminate countertops, stainless steel kitchen sinks, french windows, and slab roofs.
HAJ’s partner and contractor on this project is Malphrus International, IBC, an overseas-based construction company with extensive construction credentials, including in the Caribbean.
Contact: Chris Patterson