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CHEC to build Bernard Lodge Estates houses

Published:Thursday | February 28, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Cabinet has approved a deal between China Harbour Engineering Company and the Housing Agency of Jamaica for the construction of 1,900 housing solutions at Bernard Lodge, St Catherine. The development will be undertaken in six phases over 60 months.

CHEC submitted an unsolicited proposal to undertake the development, and following negotiations, agreed to an MOU, Information Minister Ruel Reid said at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Development of those lands had been terminated in 2013 because of inactivity on the part of the contractors. Prospects for a restart of construction offer respite for the 675 persons who, six years ago, doled out between $400,000 and $490,000 in deposits for their dream house in what was to be called Bernard Lodge Estates. A promise made in 2014 by then Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies that the administration at the time would do all it could to complete the project did little to quell the growing discontent among despairing depositors.

HAJ Managing Director Gary Howell gave the assurance that initial depositors would not be penalised with escalated costs.

“Some people took their money, others opted to wait and see, so those persons whose deposit we still hold, the HAJ will maintain the same 2013 cost for them. These persons are still in the system, and so we would hold the cost for them. That’s our commitment,” he told The Gleaner.

The approximate cost for a studio unit will be $5.5 million under the new agreement. The entire development will span more than 150 acres of land.

Bernard Lodge Estates will be in the proximity of the new Bernard Lodge city that the Government intends to build but is not part of that project.

Bernard Lodge city will be built on 4,600 acres of land and will take at least 18 years, said Martin Addington, the project’s urban planner.