Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Rivi Gardner, SCJ partner on development

Published:Sunday | February 7, 2016 | 2:00 AMTameka Gordon
Graphic design of The Orchards residential development
Graphic design of The Orchards residential development
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SCJ Holdings has partnered with Rivi Gardner & Associates on a residential development in

St Catherine that will deliver 760 homes to the market.

The Orchards will sit on 136 acres of decommissioned sugar lands that state-owned SCJ Holdings has put up as equity in its joint venture agreement with Rivi Gardner. The value of the property was not disclosed, nor the overall project cost.

A third company, Asco Project Consultants, will provide project-management services, architect Rivington Gardner told Sunday Business.

Rivi Gardner & Associates is well known for architectural services, but Gardner told Sunday Business that in relation to this project, the company is operating as a real-estate developer. He said Rivi also manages development projects on behalf of clients, but that Orchards marks the first real-estate venture owned by the firm.

Groundbreaking for The Orchards is to happen within two weeks, but the timeline for completion is fluid. The project will span three phases. The timing of the latter phases is subject to the take-up of units delivered in the preceding phases, said Asco's Khalifa Scott.

The project site is located on Old Harbour Road, adjacent to the Innswood High School and the Chedwin Park sports complex. Unit sizes will range between 773.5 square feet and 983.5 square feet - all of which will be two-bedroom homes.

Lot sizes range from 4,000 square feet with corner lots averaging 6,000 square feet. "Each lot will have adequate space for parking two cars," the companies said.

The Orchards is targeted at public-sector workers and middle-income earners.

Home prices start at $10.75 million, subject to five per cent escalation, with the larger units priced at $12 million.

"We have done our research and we see that there is a need for this kind of product. I know that there are a lot of people who live in Kingston that can't necessarily afford the housing in Kingston. So they are looking for something more within the range that may be a little bit outside the area. This is perfect for what we think people need right now," Scott said of the target market.

Financing for the venture has not been fully tied down, Rivington Gardner said, but he signalled that a deal was in sight.

"We have not finalised the arrangement for financing, so I don't want to prejudice my arrangement," Gardner said, while avoiding comment on how much the partners were investing.

At the end of the project, the developers also plan to add a 62,000-square foot commercial centre to include shops for a pharmacy, supermarket and other retail stores. SCJ Holdings will also have a new office sited on lands adjacent to the development.

SCJ Holdings is a wholly owned government land-management company tasked with promoting investments through joint-venture partnerships in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, mining, energy, construction, and tourism. The company, which emerged from the divestment of state-owned sugar factories held under Sugar Company of Jamaica, provides lands through sale, leases, or joint venture arrangements with investors who propose viable projects.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com