Proven buying second residential property as it breaks ground on first

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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PROVEN REIT is on the verge of buying 25 Sullivan Avenue. And while it plans to start building its next residential development on the half-acre lot in 2015, around the time its debut real estate at 8 Kingway is completed, it also has its sights set on acquiring a commercial building on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston.


Winston Hepburn, executive chairman of Proven REIT, expects each unit to come in at about $12 million.


"As you know, it takes a bit of time to get the necessary approvals, but we hope that by the time Kingsway is built, we can start building at Sullivan Avenue," he said, adding that the company has not yet designed the apartment or worked out the finer details.


The REIT is well on its way to achieving its target to acquire at least US$20 million worth of properties this year locally and regionally.


Regionally, the REIT is in an advanced stage of acquiring its first offshore property, which features residential units on the upper floor and commercial space on the ground floor, in the Cayman Islands.


For Proven, its foray into real estate will help it to improve its profitability and provide wealth for its shareholders.


The strategy is to grow Proven REIT, to attract global investors and list on a major stock exchange, locally or abroad, within three to four years, Christopher Williams, president of Proven Management Limited (PML) previously told the Business Observer.


PML is the investment manager for Proven Investments Limited (PIL) and its assets, including an 85 per cent stake in Proven REIT.


Yesterday, Proven broke ground on the apartment complex at Kingsway that will feature 31 studio units with a price tag of at least $15 million. The company partnered with Matalon Homes to develop the houses over a 12-month period.


"It's a Spanish design with a tropical flavour, it's very modern, and the target is middle-income young professionals who are investing for the first time," Hepburn said.


Proven spent US$1 million ($106 million) to acquire the land, pay for consultation and professional fees for its debut real estate, and will spend another $200 million to build the houses.


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