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... Partners with Matalon Homes on first real estate project

Published:Wednesday | March 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Proven REIT Executive Chairman Winston Hepburn (at tractor controls) is being assisted at the groundbreaking for the company's new apartment complex at 8 Kingsway Avenue, Kingston on Tuesday. At left is Peter Matalon of development partner, Matalon Homes. - Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer

 Negotiating purchase of Caribbean properties in four markets

Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter

Proven REIT Limited will spend an estimated US$3 million (J$326 million) to develop 31 studio apartments with construction partner Matalon Homes in Kingston.

The 8 Kingsway Avenue development is the first real estate project for Proven, said Winston Hepburn, executive chairman of Proven REIT.

Proven REIT is also set to acquire a property with mixed commercial and residential units that are tenanted in the Cayman Islands.

"We are finalising the purchase of a property in Grand Cayman in what is called the Golden Triangle there that is tenanted," he said.

The three-storey 30,500 square - foot building, he said, comprises 12 residential units and 17 commercial units. The company is further negotiating for other properties in Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and St Kitts, the executive director said.

Locally, Hepburn said the company is acquiring lands of similar size to Kingsway within the Constant Spring Road area of Kingston, to construct another set of apartments for which ground will be broken "when Kingsway is near completion".

The company is also going after the Claro building in New Kingston (see related story on this page).

Land for the 8 Kingsway Avenue development was acquired in 2011 for US$400,000. Construction will be funded from a combination of debt and equity, apportioned in a 3:1 ratio, Hepburn said.

The project is being financed 70 per cent by National Commercial Bank Jamaica and 30 per cent by Proven Investments, he said at the launch of the development on Tuesday.

"The size of the land is about two-thirds of an acre and is targeted at young professionals and middle-income earners," Hepburn said.

The project was initially disclosed in the 2012-13 half-year financial report of Proven Investments, parent and 85 per cent owner of Proven REIT.

The 31 units priced between $12 million and $15 million each will be split in two blocks, each having three levels. The apartments will be 500-550 square foot in size.

"We think the real estate market is an avenue that Proven Investments can use to expand its horizons, and that a real estate investment thrust will grow the profitability for the shareholders generally," Hepburn said.