Sat | Mar 24, 2018

More delays for R hotel

Published:Friday | December 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham

The R hotel, billed as a swanky boutique establishment with a unique business model and a select clientele, should have opened in October but delivery delays and 'other factors' have left the project without a completion date at this time.

"Circumstances beyond our control, but I cannot give you a date for opening," said developer Evan Williams, who was reluctant to speak with the Financial Gleaner about the project.

Williams is partnering with entertainment mogul Joe Bogdanovich on the eight-storey development at Renfrew Avenue, which began construction in June 2016. The property is being developed as a hotel, but its 48 residential units will all be sold to individual investors.

The R hotel incorporates a combination of exclusive rooms and suites targeted mainly at the travelling business executive. Prices for the units start at US$135,000 and range up to US$330,000. Investors are being sold the prospect of a return on their investment of seven per cent in year one, moving up incrementally to a 10 per cent cap in year 10.

In August 2017 during a 'hard hat' tour, investors and other stakeholders were shown two examples of what the finished suites should look like. At that time, Williams said the contractors were concentrating on the 'build out' now that the super structure of the building was in place.

"We're on our way to building out," he said on Wednesday as he fielded questions about the present status of the development. He said seasonal weather events and 'other factors' had derailed targets set by the development company.

"The recent four hurricanes in the region impacted on our getting material to the site," Williams said, but declined to comment on what the 'other factors' were. None of the hurricanes hit Jamaica, but the island has been experiencing persistent heavy rains.

Asked about the reaction of investors to the delays, Williams would not be drawn, but said they have been apprised of the reasons for the delays.

"They realise there are issues that they have no control over, and it wouldn't be proper for me to say more than I've said," the developer noted.

"Yes, the sign said completion October and we painted that out. We don't have a completion date set. If you're in the construction industry, you would know what it's like building in Jamaica," he said.

In August, Williams said Bogdanovich and other overseas interests had already taken eight of the 48 suites available and that 18 had been sold overall. The suites were being marketed by three realtors: Sagicor Property Services, Coldwell Banker Jamaica and Re/Max Jamaica.

"Interest is still high - we've sold more units," he said this week.