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US$220,000 per lot, and going fast

Executive editor — publications

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Price appears not to be a factor. The developers of Widcombe Estate — the 25-acre high-end, upper St Andrew gated community where lots start at US$220,000 (approximately $28.4 million at today's rate) — are reporting that of the 32 on offer, only six remain to be sold.

“There's no other lot development in Kingston, as far as I know, and certainly in Kingston 6, that allows people to build what they want to build. So that's really the advantage of this development,” a principal of developers Rosemead Ltd, who opted not to be named, told the Jamaica Observer last week.

A brochure published by the developers in collaboration with real estate company Coldwell Banker describes the property as featuring “world-class infrastructure of integrated roads, sidewalks, utilities, and storm drainage”.

The development, in the hills overlooking Kingston and St Andrew, is a few minutes drive from major commercial hubs, including Liguanea and Barbican, as well as The University of the West Indies; University of Technology, Jamaica; and University Hospital of the West Indies.

The developers are using the view, location, security, climate and exclusive community as selling points, adding that it caters to individuals who are looking to customise their living environment.

Although lot owners can contract their own architects, Rosemead is recommending the services of award-winning design oriented firm Atelier-Vidal Ltd, which was founded in 2012 by Jamaican architect Vidal Dowding.

Jamaica National is also offering financing to lot owners.

“They have set up a concierge finance team who will come to your office or home, sit with you to fill out the forms and submit them for a fast-track building loan and they will then roll it into a 30-year mortgage at the end of the building,” the Rosemead principal said.

“Using them is not mandatory. You can shop your best price and go to the bank that suits you,” he added, while emphasising that lot owners are required to observe several covenants, such as setbacks from the boundary, height restrictions, a colour palette to choose from, roof types and lot cover, meaning that they “can only build on 60 per cent of the land”.

“So what it does is to respect your neighbour and to make sure that you don't impinge on your neighbour's home or view or anything like that,” he explained.

The owners, he said, have three years to build “so the property doesn't become a construction site in perpetuity”.

He was also optimistic that the property will increase in value, growing “at a faster rate than most”, simply because it's a gated community, it has security, good climate, and is in a fabulous location.

“Now is the time to look at this thing, to purchase,” he said. “Our thing is, there is a lot of sameness going on, this is completely different and top of the market.”