Prime Minister Andrew Holness is set to break ground for the construction of 754 housing solutions at Rhyne Park Estate at Rose Hall in Montego Bay, St. James tomorrow, for which tourism workers will be the primary beneficiaries.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the development is to begin at 11:00 am. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett who is also Member of Parliament for East Central St. James, in which Rhyne Park falls, will also be making remarks at the ceremony.
“The project will be executed with a development budget of $8.4 billion. The development intends to respond to the housing needs of low to middle-income earners in St. James, and persons employed to the attractions and accommodations sector in Montego Bay,” said a release from the Ministry of Tourism.
In April this year, the Prime Minister had signed a joint venture agreement between the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and the China-based Henan Fifth Construction Group for the development to take place.
At the time Holness said he was pleased to see a venture previously regarded as unfeasible come to fruition.
He also explained that property for the construction was acquired in 2009 by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) with the intention of providing housing for workers in the tourism industry, but that the project did not get off the ground as, following an assessment, local contractors were unable to construct the houses for below $20 million, which would have been an expensive undertaking for the Government.
The Prime Minister had also sought to allay fears that the housing units would be unaffordable to residents, particularly those working in the tourism sector. He said at the time that the initial proposed plan would have resulted in homes that would be too costly for many Jamaicans, but that through a joint venture agreement with a construction company, a new pricing range was reached.
Under the project, 100 one-bedroom apartment units will be provided at a cost of $7.9 million each; 60 two-bedroom apartments at $12.3 million; 426 two-bedroom, one-bathroom single-family homes for $12.4 million; 122 two-bedrooms, one-and-a-half bathroom townhouses for $14.5 million; and 46 three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom townhouses for $18.5 million.
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