144 housing units to be constructed in Tivoli Gardens
KINGSTON, Jamaica – A total of 144 housing units will be constructed in Tivoli Gardens, Western Kingston, at a cost of $2.8 billion, under the National Housing Trust (NHT) Community Renewal Project.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, and Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, Desmond McKenzie; Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams; Chairman of the NHT, Linval Freeman; Managing Director, NHT, Martin Miller and Director, M&M Jamaica Limited, Richard Mullings, Friday broke ground for the Royal Estates Housing Development project.
The development will consist of 130 duplexes and 14 mixed-use units for residential and commercial use.
The Royal Estates Housing Development is being built on 8.3 acres of land and is scheduled for completion in 2026. The selling price will be finalised on completion of the development. The units will include 32 studios, 38 one-bedroom, 60 two-bedroom (two storey) and 14 mixed-use (three storey). The land earmarked for the development borders west on the Tivoli Gully, north by Tivoli Gardens, south and east by the Jamaica Railway Corporation property.
Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister said the development is a testimony to the Government’s unwavering commitment to building not just houses but communities.
“This development represents hope and opportunity and embodies the ideals of the community-renewal programme, an initiative deeply rooted in the tenets of Vision 2030 and is an outgrowth of the NHT’s inner-city housing project,” he added.
He said since inception, the NHT has contributed more than 10,000 housing solutions in Kingston and St Andrew through the Joint Venture Interim Finance Project, the Inner-City Housing Project and the NHT Scheme Programmes. He informed that the trust’s current housing plan for Kingston and St. Andrew includes 1,386 housing units to be constructed over the next two years.
These include 230 units (Foreshore Estate), which is under construction and should be completed in 2024; 210 units under the Maxfield Park Development Project, for completion in 2025; 131 units at White Wing, for completion in 2025; 248 units at Howard Apartments, for completion in 2025; 18 units at the completed Bellrock Project; 36 units at St Paul’s Lane; 70 units at the Surbiton Project, for completion in 2026; 62 units at Bay Farm Road, to be completed in 2026; Phase Two of the Ruthven Towers, which will consist of 235 units for completion in 2026; and 14 units in Vineyard Town, for completion in 2025.
Holness said the Government remains committed to providing housing solutions that will meet the needs of Jamaicans and informed that the focus is not only on Kingston and St Andrew.
He pointed out that the trust has committed to building 43,000 housing solutions islandwide.
“Every day we are working towards that commitment,” he added.
The prime ninister further informed that the Bernard Lodge Development in St Catherine has commenced.
“Several of the developers are building out now and I am going to tour that area very soon to see the progress that is being made. In that development alone we will have over 10,000 housing solutions,” he said.
He explained that the buildout of a proper transportation system and road networks will complement the buildout of more units outside of Kingston.
“What we have done in terms of improving the road network heading east into St Thomas is a signal that housing developments should follow that new corridor, so there are options other than seeking to build in Kingston, that you can live on the outskirts of Kingston and travel into Kingston at a low cost and conveniently; that’s what we are building out,” Holness said.
He noted that development of the Royal Estates project has been in the pipeline from as far back as 2007 and lamented about the pace of development and the associated bureaucratic processes to execute the project.
“When I toured in 2019, I made a commitment that it would be done but regardless of how firm and strong my commitments were, when it becomes the domain of execution, when it becomes the domain of public bureaucracy, sometimes there is a disconnect between the urgency of getting the projects done and the imperative of complying with the rules,” the prime minister said.
“The two things have to be done; you can’t sacrifice either; you have to comply with the rules and you want to do it as quickly as possible, so that the people who are living in the substandard condition can get the benefit quickly. Sometimes as bureaucrats and administrators, we do our job without seeing the beneficiary on the other side of our effort,” he said.
The prime minister urged the contractor, M&M Jamaica Limited, to complete the project within or before the timeline and within the budget.
“Move as fast as you can… don’t delay what you can accomplish today,” he urged.
Meanwhile, McKenzie said the proposed development is a “dream we all welcome”.
community member, Shikara Dockery said the community is grateful for the development. “To finally see the project happening, it feels good,” she said.
For his part, Freeman said the project will be developed with greenspaces and recreational areas and will improve the quality of life for residents and their families.