Fri | Sep 22, 2017

138 Student Living to invest $2B in UTech lodging

Published:Wednesday | December 23, 2015 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon

The University of Tech-nology (UTech) is to increase its slate of student accommo-dations under an arrangement with real-estate investment company, 138 Student Living Jamaica Limited.

The concession agreement will see 138 Student Living leasing three acres of land west of the university's Papine, St Andrew campus, on which the accommodation will be sited.

Chairman of 138 Student Living, John Lee, told Wednesday Business that the company will build four to five towers of six storeys with 144 rooms per block or 24 rooms per floor.

The construction will be "similar to what 138 Student Living has constructed on the Mona campus [of the University of the West Indies]", Lee said.

The real-estate company is currently providing 1,584 new student residence units - spanning 11 new high-rise blocks - at the Mona campus in St Andrew under an agreement with the university to finance, build and operate through a 30-year concession agreement.

"The concession is to build 600 rooms. It can house up to 1,200 students, depending on whether it is double occupancy or not," he said.

The company will spend $2 billion over a two- to three-year period on the phased construction of the units.

"We are aiming to start in July 2016," Lee said, with construction projected to be completed by August 2018.

The accommodations will be joined to the UTech facilities by an overpass or bridge "over the road or we will seek to have the road removed to the other side of the three acres because it is hardly used", Lee said.

LAND NEXT TO UTECH

The site is contiguous to the UTech property, separated by a private road, with the Papine High School also to the west of the university.

The road lies between the boundary of the university and the plot of land on which the accommodations are to be built.

UTech's push comes against the background of security concerns for its students, with the recent killing of a student as she made her way home from the campus.

The university currently offers accommodations for 395 students - 204 female and 191 males on six halls - according to information posted on its website.

138 Student Living is listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Phase 1 of the development it is undertaking at Mona started in September 2014 and is being financed by a joint $1.35 billion loan from Jamaica Mortgage Bank and National Commercial Bank, as well as from proceeds of more than J$500 million raised from a public offering.

Construction of Phase Two was scheduled to commence September 2015 and will come into operation in August 2016.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com