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WIHCON eyes new residential development for North Coast

Breaks ground for $2-b Lofts in Kingston

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Building contractor, Wihcon Ltd is eyeing the development of a residential housing scheme on the North Coast, even as the company broke ground for an estimated $2-billion project on Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston, yesterday.

“We are targeting that section of Jamaica and hopefully something coming up in St Catherine. We are going to look for lands in St Catherine as well because there is a demand there,” Chairman of Wihcon, Peter Melhado told the Jamaica Observer.

On Tuesday, the company broke ground for the construction of 128 apartment units on Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston, targeted at young professionals, investors and the Diaspora market.

The apartment complex has been dubbed the Lofts and is priced from $13.8 million for a studio apartment up to $21 million for a two-bedroom unit. Construction of the apartment complex is expected to be completed over the next 18 months.

“We think the location is fantastic, and we also feel the economy is strong and people are looking for opportunities. We have significant interest from investors on this project, which is really heartening, and people who want to own their home from abroad,” Melhado told the Jamaica Observer.

Arthur Wint Drive — which is considered prime location for its close proximity to the Children's Hospital, the Normal Manley International Airport and business destinations New Kingston, Liguanea, Half-Way-Tree and downtown, Kingston — is also home to the National Stadium.

Melhado reckons that the Lofts' location directly across from the National Stadium could be a selling point for Diaspora members coming for the annual ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships.

The five-day track meet, which is hailed as one of the greatest inter-secondary school track and field competitions worldwide, boosts the business environment for a number of local hoteliers.

In fact, reports from the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association are that most hotels in the surrounding area run very high occupancy rates at that time of the year, if not fully booked. Plans are now underway to raise US$40 million from Jamaicans living overseas to start major upgrades at the National Stadium.

Wihcon plans on employing some 200 people to construct the apartments. The development is expected to assist in addressing an estimated demand of up to 15,000 housing units per year across the country. Wihcon, in a joint venture with the National Housing Trust, will also hand over 1,500 homes in French Village, Montego Bay, in November.

The Lofts community, dubbed as “more than just another Kingston address”, is designed by the renowned Plexus Architects, and will boast two six-storey apartment blocks with 84 studio apartments and 44 two-bedroom apartments each incorporating high-quality finishes, according to the company. It comes with the convenience of 24-hour security, underground parking, a clubhouse with gym, tennis court and a jogging trail.

Wihcon celebrates 60 years in Jamaica with more than 50 schools and over 46,000 homes built. The company, in emphasising that it will remain committed to building great communities in Jamaica, buried a time capsule during the ground-breaking process to celebrate the momentous occasion.