Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Moorland Development enters new territory with $4b resort project

Published:Friday | July 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM
One of six design types for villas that Moorland Development Company will build for investors in the WhiteHouse Beach Club resort complex.
A section of the 44-acre property at Whitehouse in Westmoreland, where Moorland Development company is creating a resort complex, called WhiteHouse Beach Club.
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Property developers Moorland Development Company Limited are going after their biggest project yet, a $4.5-billion resort complex that takes the company outside of its comfort zone in the home market.

The WhiteHouse Beach Club project is designed for the construction of 109 villas on property acquired from an unnamed Westmoreland landowner. Moorland is currently working on the infrastructure for the 44-acre property, a portion of which fronts the sea in Whitehouse, Westmoreland.

The company will sell the lots it subdivides to individual investors, but will build the villas for buyers who pay for the service, under contract.

"WhiteHouse Beach Club targets individuals within the diaspora and local investors seeking an investment property or a vacation home," said Moorland Managing Director Carlton Maxwell. "This property is ideal for local investors who want their money to work for them in an investment property that will pay off within 10 years."

Investors purchasing the lots would have to commit to building villas on their property, and those constructions are expected to be finalised within five years.

"They must build," said Maxwell. "The vision is to turn it into a resort."

To fit with that theme, Moorland is planning to develop a private beach park and clubhouse at the property for residents.

Maxwell said the WhiteHouse project, budgeted at US$34 million ($4.52 billion), is being financed in part by Sagicor Bank Jamaica, which is providing a loan of US$1.6 million for land acquisition and infrastructure, and for cash flow support. The bank is previously reported to have provided debt financing for at least two other residential developments by the company.

Moorland Development was founded in 2001 by a group of former bauxite workers, who were initially on a quest to own their own homes, but then parlayed it into a real estate business by pooling their resources and acquiring reclaimed lands from Alpart.

The company has done four projects since then: Moorlands Estate, Moorlands Manor and the Glades in Mandeville, Manchester; and PalmBrook Estate in Lacovia, St Elizabeth. The Mandeville projects, which supplied lots and residences, were all sold off; however, only 266 of the 380 lots subdivided under the PalmBrook Estate project in 2015 have so far been sold, Maxwell said.

WhiteHouse will be Moorland's fifth project, but its first to be pitched at persons seeking investment properties.

The aim, Maxwell said, is to create investment properties which will be managed as a pool by one hotel manager. Lot buyers will be connected to construction professionals after purchase.

Moorland has developed a selection of six designs for the 109 villas, from which lot purchasers can choose. The lot and villa construction together are expected to cost individual investors between US$400,000 and US$480,000.

The developers began the infrastructure work for WhiteHouse Beach Club in April and hopes to wrap up that end of the project a year from now, in June 2019. The splinter titles for the lots should be ready a month later, July 2019, he said, while the final date for delivery of completed homes and amenities is slated for December 2024.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com