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DBJ lands investor for Montpelier property

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 8:00 AMTameka Gordon

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has found a new investor for the remaining Montpelier lands, Jamaica Green Botanicals Producers Company Limited, which will lease the property for development into an agro-park.

The lease to Green Botanicals will span more than 1,600 acres.

DBJ has been trying since 2008 to divest the Montpelier property, which spans 2,448 acres. It advertised the property over several years for sale or lease, whether as a block or in parts, with limited success.

Straddling the neighbouring communities of Montpelier in St James and Shettlewood in Hanover, the property is suitable for both agricultural and residential development. It was once home to an orange farm held by Montpelier Citrus Company Limited (MCCL), which was formed after DBJ acquired the assets of the Jamaica Orange Company Limited from the National Commercial Bank in 1999 during the financial meltdown and subsequent bank rescues.

In 2010, some 524.76 acres were divested to Ramble Enterprises.

DBJ said Green Botanicals would lease 1,609.5 acres for agricultural purposes. Green Botanicals Director Roger Sherwood confirmed the planned use of the lands but declined to give further details, saying formal announcements would be made in the next few weeks.

The DBJ began talks with Green Botanicals in 2015, the bank said. Cabinet approved plans for the lease last month. However, DBJ says the deal is yet to be finalised. Green Botanicals also needs to obtain permits and licences for its venture.

"The proposed lessee indicated that the lands will be used for agricultural purposes - establishing an agro-park and cultivation of various crops," the DBJ said.

The lease will take effect "once the DBJ and the proposed lessee finalise the relevant documents," the agency.

The development bank said it expects to close the transaction by September of this year.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com