Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Hendricksons exit Bellencita

Published:Wednesday | January 12, 2022 | 12:06 AMSteven Jackson/Senior Business Reporter

Baking Enterprises Limited, a company held by members of the Hendrickson family, has found a buyer for the nine-acre Bellencita estate in Irish Town that was once the home of National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante and Lady Bustamante. The historic...

Baking Enterprises Limited, a company held by members of the Hendrickson family, has found a buyer for the nine-acre Bellencita estate in Irish Town that was once the home of National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante and Lady Bustamante.

The historic property was priced at US$1 million, or $155 million, based on public records – which is double the price Baking Enterprises is said to have paid to acquire it. The buyer’s offer is currently under contract, which means that both parties have signed the sales agreement, with the deposit set for payment.

It’s unclear whether the current buyer – whose identity has not been disclosed ­­– will redevelop the estate, as no response for comment sought through realtor Kaili McDonnough Scott of Coldwell Banker Realty, was forthcoming up to press time.

The listing was described as a sprawling residential ‘developmental land’ rather than that of a residential home. That’s because the property already received subdivision approval years earlier.

“In addition to the 9.72 acres which have been granted subdivision approval for nine lots, there is a modest home on site which has great bones and is in decent condition, but needs to be renovated to restore it back to the glory of yesteryear. There are no restrictive covenants on the title,” said the blurb posted with the listing.

Baking Enterprises has held the Bellencita property for six years. In early 2016, the company, whose directors include hotelier and bakery owner Kevin Hendrickson and other members of the Hendrickson family, acquired the property from two mortgage providers Scotia Jamaica Building Society and National Housing Trust, according to records at the Titles Office.

The property was reportedly transferred to Baking Enterprises in February 2016 for $60 million, the US dollar equivalent of which was about US$500,000.

At the time, it was unclear whether the Hendrickson family acquired the property as a commercial or personal asset. But over time, it seems the property remained undeveloped. Before that, businessman R Danny Williams shelved plans to develop the property with the Webb family, who were the previous owners.

Christopher Paul Webb and Ghazala Avis Webb, who acquired Bellencita in May 2000, had planned to develop the property into nine luxury lots. They lived in the home for a few years in-between their residences in Jamaica and Canada, but eventually left the property untouched.

Much of the estate’s value lies in its historic ties to Sir Alexander and Lady Gladys as the couple’s retirement home. It is however not on the heritage site listings. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust otherwise lists Bustamante’s residence at Tucker Avenue in St Andrew.

Bellencita includes four bedrooms, and staff quarters attached to the main house. It was constructed in the late 1960s for the Bustamantes at Irish Town, a rural St Andrew community of professionals and small farmers.

Alexander Bustamante became the first prime minister of independent Jamaica in 1962. In 1969, he was conferred with the Order of National Hero, along with his cousin, Norman Washington Manley. He resided at Bellencita with his wife until his death in 1977. Lady Bustamante passed away decades later, in 2009.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com