Chelsea sale in process

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business writer

Friday, July 26, 2013

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THE sale of the long standing Chelsea Hotel in New Kingston is underway, according to reliable sources.

The timeline for the finalisation remains unclear for the property, put on the market years ago.

"The sale is in process. I can say that," stated a Caribbean Business Report source, who opted to remain anonymous to respect protocol. "The buyer is overseas and of Jamaican heritage."

The source however declined to reveal the name of the pending buyer.

The hotel, built decades ago, is a known fixture in the city, allowing customers the convenience of overnight or extended stays. It is located in one of the most expensive real estate zones in the island. Attempts to speak to management proved futile as the listed phone number was out of service up to Wednesday, based on Caribbean Business Report checks.

Businessman Sydney Melville has operated the entity for 41 years, but began looking for a purchaser about three years ago. In his search for a buyer, Melville had originally enlisted realtors Valerie Levy and Associates to sell the 1.5-acre property. The price tag was reportedly US$3 million at the time.

"The possibilities for income streams are endless," said Valerie Levy associate Tanya Sue-Brice at the time, speaking on the property's potential.

"Proprietors can expect to welcome a mix of tourist/business clients along with perhaps a few health enthusiasts or those who need to relax, get their weekly coiffure, have some cocktails, dine or plan a seminar," she added. "There is also space to host a few business offices on the site, maybe even a casino."

In 1972, Melville bought the first of the three adjoining lots on Chelsea Avenue. The property borders the Liguanea Club and has entrances on two roads, Chelsea Avenue and Richmond Avenue.

Melville had said that he and his family decided to sell the hotel as a going concern. Melville has four children, who have decided to pursue other business interests.

Cuban-born Melville came to Jamaica at the age of 12 in 1933. He joined the Royal Air Force at age 23 and went to England for three years. Upon his return, Melville went into the dry cleaning business and started Kingston Dry Cleaners on East Queen Street -- he had four other branches of the company, including offices on Red Hills Road and Olympic Way.

Melville also rented skittle tables and jukeboxes islandwide, and to this day he still fixes and refinishes skittle/pool tables.




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