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Bogdanovich in the market for hotel; buys majority stake in Hardware & Lumber

Published:Friday | February 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMCamilo Thame
CEO of Downsound Records Joe Bogdanovich.
CEO of Downsound Records Joe Bogdanovich.

Downsound Records CEO Joe Bogdanovich is bullish on investment in Jamaica.

The long-time partner in dancehall calendar event, Sting, revealed he is now the majority shareholder in Hardware & Lumber Limited, the remaining shares of which are being sought for purchase in a mandatory buyout.

What's more, he is currently looking to acquire a hotel in the island and is on the verge of launching a new international reggae concert this year.

Bogdanovich wouldn't provide much details about the upcoming event, but he intends for it to dwarf predecessors, while he hinted at global online streaming being a major component of the project.

"We are looking to close a deal within the next few weeks," he said at a sit-down with members of the press on Wednesday.

The hotel he has in mind would fit neatly in his planned expansion into entertainment, which includes the ongoing development of a state-of-the art music studio on Belmont Road in New Kingston, where Carlos CafÈ and Max Brown were located.

Ready to rock and roll

Plus, KLE Group, in which he acquired a 23.2 per cent stake in 2014, finally got approval for its 'Bessa' project - a hotel resort planned for St Mary.

"We are getting ready to rock and roll, as they say," Bogdanovich told journalists.

KLE will also soon see its first Usain Bolt Tracks and Records franchisee open a restaurant in Ocho Rios, while the company is targeting four more sites over the next 12 to 18 months.

"We are investigating New York, London and other European countries as potential locations," he added.

But the hotel Bogdanovich is looking to buy also reflect his and other investors' appetite for infrastructure investments in Jamaica, which factored into his decision to buy a 58 per cent stake in the hardware retail chain from GraceKennedy.

"I went into that investment because it is a very good brand and it makes money," he said. "The housing market is growing rapidly and lots of hotels are being built."

"The agricultural side of the business is also booming," he added.

Minority shareholders in H&L have up to March 4 to accept the buyout offer of $18.50 a share from Argyle Industries.

Bogdanovich says his investment outlook for Jamaica is long-term.

"I have been living here full-time since 1999," he said. "I am not a short-term kind of guy. I am here and I am not leaving."

He also plans to establish a foundation focused on tackling the diabetes problem in Jamaica.

"It is very important because it is out of control," he said.

The music producer lost his wife, Toya, to complications with diabetes last year.