NHT Breaks Ground for New Housing Solutions in Westmoreland

Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness on Friday, August 11, 2023, led a ground breaking exercise for Sheffield Palms, the National Housing Trust’s, NHT, newest housing development in Retreat, Westmoreland. The 113-unit housing project is being developed in collaboration with Sheffield Palms Developers Limited under the NHT’s Guaranteed Purchase Programme (GPP). Upon completion, 60 of the units will be available to the NHT for its contributors. 

Partnership, was the theme of the Prime Minister’s keynote address as he encouraged developers to pursue the Guaranteed Purchase Programme. According to Mr. Holness, the Programme provides a ready market while protecting the developer from the usual risks associated with new builds. 

“The NHT gives a guarantee that once the units are built to the agreed standards, they will be purchased…this takes away the risk of building and having nobody to purchase… So the developer feels a sense of security,” said Mr. Holness.

The Prime Minister further emphasised that the Programme would lead to greater construction efficiencies by allowing developers to pursue more projects in shorter time spans.

A visibly happy Morland Watson, Member of Parliament, MP, Westmoreland Western noted that the development was a welcomed addition to the Retreat Palms community. According to the MP, the upcoming development is an opportunity for community members to transform their lives and future and welcomed the potential economic uptick from the construction activities.

For her part, Vickeshia Box, Project Manager and Director at Sheffield Palms Developers Limited, advised that the need for more affordable housing solutions for workers within the tourism and allied industries was the catalyst for the project.  With her sights set on the future, and more holistic approach to community development is in the making. Ms. Box informed that along with two additional phases, residents can expect the construction of primary and secondary learning facilities, a community centre and commercial park.

Highlighting the NHT’s policy improvements and loan limit increases, NHT Board Member Doran Dixon, assured that the NHT’s ongoing shifts reflect efforts to meet the needs of our contributors.

“Beyond building communities, we continue to build pathways toward homeownership through strategic policy and mortgage financing arrangements underpinned by improved accessibility, affordability and ease of doing business.   In this regard, financing frameworks such as our new External Finance Mortgage Programme, expand the financing options available to our contributions while allowing the NHT to channel more of its resources to developing more affordable housing solutions,” said Mr. Dixon

Sheffield Palms is one of several developments being constructed under the GPP. The Programme, which was launched by the NHT in 2018, allows developers to conceptualise and execute their development plans, while the NHT absorbs the market risk by purchasing part or all of the development. This approach seeks to leverage the efficiencies within the private sector so that units can be delivered at lower costs and within faster timeframes.

The first 30 units at Sheffield Palms, are scheduled for completion by March 2024.

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