Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Forum hotel redevelopment underway

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
The old Forum hotel.

Portmore Marina Develop-ment Limited (PMDL), the company which acquired the old Forum hotel, says it hopes to begin phase one of the development within months aided by funding for infrastructure works from JMMB Merchant Bank.

The development company acquired the hotel complex

from the Urban Development Corporation for $350 million and will convert the site into the Bay Front Villas and Apartments, pending approval from the Real Estate Board.

The project will be executed at a cost of $1.2 billion, while sales are expected to bring in revenue of almost $2 billion, said Project Manager Gina Harrison.

Bay Front will feature two gated communities and a marina. PMDL will develop the villa home segment first, then transform the 10-storey tower into apartments.

VARIETY OF units

The development will incorporate 75 two- and three-

bedroom single-family homes on their own lots. The existing 57 shell units on the site will be renovated as two-bedroom, two-bathroom units, Harrison said.

Another 18 three-bedroom units will be constructed on the property, which has 80 lots. The remaining lots will be used as recreational areas and as green spaces for the development.

The hotel tower will be

converted to about 120 apartments with a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. Harrison said the final mix will be determined by market research.

PMDL will draw down on a loan of $195 million from JMMB Merchant Bank to finance the infrastructure "and as we sell each unit, we would get the financing to renovate that unit," Harrison said.

"We have a loan that will cover the infrastructure for the first phase and then because we are going to renovate the units as they are sold, every time we sell a unit we would get financing that is approximately 50 per cent of the [cost of the] unit," she said.

PMDL will go back to the market for additional funding to complete the other phases of the development after the sale of the first 54 two-bedroom villa homes priced from $11.6

million upward, she said.

After the villas, the apartments are next on the construction schedule. Harrison said a completion date for the overall project was dependent on approvals but that once phase one is wrapped up, the entire development should be finalised by a year after that.

"Right now we have done the two model units as well as the gated entry and we are moving forward with the renovations of the infrastructure and the building of the boundary wall," she said.

Phase one is expected to be complete in three months "and we expect that the sales will move ahead readily once we get to market," said Harrison.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com