Female developer spearheads construction of affordable apartments

Female developer spearheads construction of affordable apartments

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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ENTERPRISING developer Denise Pitter has fulfilled her mission of spearheading the construction of affordable apartments for individuals seeking homes in the Corporate Area.

She was able to achieve this with the assistance of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB), an agency of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, which provided a loan of approximately $61.12 million to build the eight-apartment building on land along Hughenden Avenue.

The property was acquired by her company, TP Data Investments Limited, which she operates with husband, Troy Pitter. Construction was completed nine months ahead of schedule, and within budget.

The complex was recently toured by minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, who welcomed the development.

He said the project represents a “very practical example” of the stakeholder engagements that are assisting and which are needed to support the Government's thrust to provide affordable housing solutions for people in need.

“Not only has Mrs Pitter been able to construct in record time [and] within budget… but all of her units are already sold,” Senator Charles Jr told JIS News.

He expressed the hope that her accomplishment will inspire other entrepreneurs and developers to partner with the Government and JMB to provide affordable housing solutions.

“We (government representatives) have gone and taken the time to evaluate the industry, and we have come to [the conclusion] that more [affordable] houses [are] needed,” he said.

Pitter told JIS News that executing the development was not an easy undertaking.

Noting the space limitations encountered when her team first visited the property in 2016, Pitter said it took some six months for the plan to be approved by the relevant agencies.

Additionally, she said it took another six months for the entire building, with units ranging between 585 and 1,572 square feet in size, to be completed.

The Hughenden Avenue development is not the first major project for Pitter. She was also involved in the development of apartments at Eden Court, located at 23 Edinburgh Avenue; the Oakridge, at 80 East Oakridge in Armour Heights; and The Terrace, located at 43 Hughenden Avenue.

Pitter said her goal in undertaking these developments was ensuring that the cost to purchasers, particularly young professionals, is affordable.

She said selling the recent Hughenden Avenue apartments was not much of a challenge, as individuals saw the artist's impression of the units, which was mounted near the gate of the property, and took steps to purchase these some three months after construction commenced.

Meanwhile, Pitter said the project would not have been realised without the assistance of the JMB.

“I really appreciate Jamaica Mortgage Bank for considering us. I remember when I first started and I approached other financial institutions, I was told that we were young and they did not know us. But I was introduced to the bank and [now], I would not go anywhere else,” she said.

JMB's Managing Director Courtney Wynter also commended Pitter on completing the project.

“What makes this project unique is that she did it about nine months ahead of schedule. She did the eight units… in record time and within budget. So she needs to be recognised for that,” he said.

Wynter emphasised the “need to highlight those kinds of successes”, noting “the perception that there are all male developers… but we want to highlight that there are also female developers”.

Over its 48 years of operations, the JMB has been responsible for financing up to 30 per cent of government-led housing developments across Jamaica to the tune of some $39 billion.

Senator Charles Jr said the Government is aiming to work with more developers, like Pitter, through the JMB.

“We are going to do whatever is necessary to stimulate the market and to continue to attract developers. We want developers who will join with us in ensuring their success and the quality of housing at affordable prices, so that all Jamaicans will be able to access housing. That is our goal,” he underscored.

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