First Rock to build Liguanea town house development

First Rock to build Liguanea town house development

Aims to be most luxurious town house development in Kingston

Observer business writer

Sunday, April 05, 2020

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Sunday Finance can confirm that real estate development and private equity outfit First Rock Capital Holdings is undertaking an almost $2-billion upscale residential housing development in Liguanea, Kingston 6.

The residential project is described as the most luxurious townhouse development in Kingston, consisting of 16 high-end private residences.

First Rock has just spent US$5 million or $600 million to acquire the property known as 1, 1B and 3 Bamboo Avenue from Desnoes Estates Limited, a subsidiary of PanJam Investment Limited, from where the town houses will be developed.

Construction on the 3.5-acre property, located adjacent to the offices of the Embassy of the United States of America, is slated to cost just over $1 billion based on current estimates.

Sunday Finance spoke with Pierre Shirley, executive vice-president of First Rock Capital, who is excited about the project and sought to explain the motivation for this investment.

“Our survey determined that there is great demand for new town houses in the Kingston 6 area. There haven't been many new town house developments compared to apartments in the past few years and several of the ones that have been done aren't 'exclusive', meaning the density is high and/or include apartment buildings and consequently the units and rooms are rather small,” Shirley explained.

He highlighted the fact that First Rock's approach with this development, in particular, is the complete opposite to the traditional houses being built. According to the First Rock executive vice-president, “these town houses offer a very low density (only 16 units) and therefore the units and rooms are significantly larger ”.

He went on to state, “We believe these units will appeal to families that live or desire to live in large homes on estate like size (1 acre or more) lots as you typically find in areas such as Norbrook, Cherry Gardens and Millsborough, but want to live in a 'gated community', without downsizing to the smaller town houses that some developers have previously built over the years.”

The designs include two floor plans consisting of four bedrooms, five bath rooms (3,500 sq tt) and five bedrooms, six bathrooms (5,200 sq ft). Both floor plans are two-storey units, where all bedrooms have en suite bathrooms and a bedroom on the ground floor, staff quarters, individual pool with bar and entertainment area, and for the first time seen in Kingston, each unit will have an enclosed three-car garage.

When asked about the status of regulatory and building approvals, Shirley indicated that First Rock is on schedule to make submissions by the end of this month to all of the respective agencies for approvals. “It is important to note that the designs conform to the restrictive covenants on title and therefore there are no modifications necessary to facilitate the intended development,” Shirley posited.

In terms of the start date, it is projected that First Rock will break ground for the project this summer providing that all of the requisite building and planning approvals are in place. Construction is expected to last no more than 15 months.

Shirley confirmed that that funding for this capital project is coming from the proceeds of its successful initial public offering of shares last January, where the company raised US$18.48 million. First Rock has put together a very strong professional team to effectively execute this development.

The team comprises:

Architect — Vidal Dowding; Atelier-Vidal

General Contractor — Rohan Grant; GARCO Construction Limited

Project Manager — Fitzroy Gregory; Shiloh Consulting Partners

Structural/Civil Engineer — Brian Alberga; Jentech Consultants Limited

Mechanical/Electrical Engineer — Hugh Gordon; HTG Engineering Consultants Limited

Quantity Surveyor — Michael Mears; Wan Mears & Associates Limited

Land Surveyor — Timothy Thwaites; Timothy Thwaites & Associates Limited

Attorney — Sean Shelton; Shelards Attorneys-at-Law

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