J$8b university town for Holland Estate
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Zuccerhina Developments Jamaica Limited has partnered with Kencasa Construction and Project Management Limited to pump J$8 billion into the development of a sprawling housing complex, as well as a university campus in Trelawny.
Zuccherina is operated by Italian-born, but New York-based brothers James and Alex Goren, while Kencasa's president and CEO is Jamaican Kirk Kennedy, a former Jampro officer.
The developers have bought 192 acres of land, known as Holland Estates, near William Knibb High School. The property was owned by the Muschette family and in earlier years was used as a papaya farm.
In two weeks, on December 1, ground is to be broken on the project. The development will take six years.
"We are proposing 1,385 habitable units varying in size from duplex studios, and two- and three-bedroom detached units and this is expected to run for about six years," said Kennedy.
Kennedy and his partners hope to sell the residences primarily in the low- to middle-income real estate market, targeting hotel and other tourism-related workers, whose numbers are expected to swell given the existing and planned hotel developments.
"As such, the duplex-studio units will be priced to ensure affordability for single individuals accessing the National Housing Trust funds; and the two- and three-bedroom units will be priced in accordance with NHT's pricing guidelines," said the developer.
Low- to middle-income families will also have the option of acquiring starter units, with space to expand incrementally.
The development will be built out in four phases, but Goren and Kennedy spoke only of the first —incorporating 346 duplex studio units, 54 two-bedroom units and 46 three-bedroom units to be developed as part of a university town concept.
Jamaican examples of this model include the communities of Mona Heights and Hope Pastures, where the value of the houses is retained primarily due to the perceived relationship between the two main universities and the housing developments.
"Not only do these communities form housing support for students who cannot be accommodated on halls of residences, but many of the university professionals who work at the universities also live in these communities. This development thus provides ample opportunities for persons to work and live in an environment described in the Vision 2030 statement," said the developers.
Kennedy, who also formerly worked with WIHCON, said a large portion of the funding for the project has been secured by the principals of Zuccherina Developments.
He said the developers have been approached by one of the two major public universities to construct the campus.
He would not say which one, but in the last two years the University of Technology has been eyeing Trelawny for its western Jamaica base. It unsuccessfully made a play for the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium.
The Holland Estate development is accessible from the Falmouth-Martha Brae main road.
"What we are offering is a beautiful upscale concept, but not at an upscale price, complete with features such as landscaped gardens, jogging trail and gated community," said James Goren, a homeowner at Tryall Club in Hanover, and a well-known global entrepreneur and investment advisor for stocks and real estate.
The site at Holland is particularly attractive, he said, because of its proximity to old historical structures and ultramodern hotel facilities.
The property is minutes from the historic Falmouth Port, now under development as a cruise port which is to be commissioned in early 2011.