Fri | Dec 4, 2020

First Rock to roll out $1.4b luxury complex despite COVID

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2020 | 12:10 AM
A graphic representation of the First Rock luxury apartment development.
A graphic representation of the First Rock luxury apartment development.

By September, the real estate arm of First Rock Capital expects to launch a $1.4-billion luxury town house development, pending clearance of all regulatory hurdles.

Executive vice-president of First Rock Capital Pierre Shirley says that while the company recognises the potential negative impact on the economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still pushing ahead with the project.

“Our outlook for Jamaica remains positive, and we believe that any fallout will be short-lived. Our risk-mitigation strategies and general approach are expected to adequately cover us where COVID-19 is concerned,” Shirley told the Financial Gleaner.

The company plans to start construction by late summer and deliver the units by September 2021, he said.

The land for the development, located at Bamboo Avenue, Kingston, was acquired for US$5 million from Desnoes Estates Limited, a subsidiary of property conglomerate PanJam Investment Limited.

Shirley says the planned development, which is in the same neighbourhood as First Rock’s corporate headquarters and is in proximity to the US Embassy, will feature 16 town houses in a gated compound.

“We appreciate the sensitivity of any new development in the surrounding area of the embassy, and consequently, we have reached out to the embassy and are in dialogue in an attempt to achieve good neighbourly relations and to also identify and satisfactorily address any concerns that they may have,” Shirley said.

The residences will be four to five bedrooms in size and will incorporate staff quarters and individual pools with a bar and entertainment area. “And never seen before in any pre-planned development in Jamaica, each unit will have an enclosed three-car garage,” Shirley added.

The complex is still in the design phase, which he said was sufficiently advanced to allow for filing of the drawings with the planning authorities by the end of this month.

All restrictive covenants that may have had any impact on the intended development have already been modified and registered, Shirley said, adding that all things considered, the units should “hit the market at upwards of US$1 million”. That price translates to more than $137 million in local currency at spot rates.

Financing for the project, he said, will come through a combination of equity and debt, with the debt portion being in the form of a construction loan, and the Bamboo Avenue project is to be followed by the unveiling of another real estate development before year end.

“This is one of two planned developments that we anticipate breaking ground on this year, the other being a commercial development of a 42,000-square-foot boutique office building,” he told the Financial Gleaner.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com