Ground broken for $3-billion plus 'One Belmont' real estate development
William Tavares-Finson(Photo: Naphtali Junior)

Ground was broken yesterday for the real estate development of 1-3 Belmont Road in New Kingston, which has long been the dream of the property owners, the Tavares-Finson family, pioneers of Jamaica's real estate auction system.

The $3.2-billion “One Belmont” real estate project is being executed through Sygnus Real Estate Finance special purpose subsidiary, Audere Holdings Limited, which comprises Sygnus and the Tavares-Finson family. Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was the keynote speaker at the ground-breaking ceremony along with Sygnus Real Estate Finance executives and the Tavares-Finson family led by Williams Tavares-Finson, broke ground for the development.

Construction is slated to last for 19 months with the Chinese construction firm of BYD Construction being award the building contract. BYD is the contractor that built the Usain Bolt building on Half-Way-Tree Road and the current twin towers going up on Wellington Drive, Kingston 6.

The “One Belmont” project has been described as a daring response to an evolving world and re-imagines the standards of Kingston's commercial office spaces that unites design, technology and wellness to deliver a modern architectural masterpiece. The project will deliver approximately 79,000 square feet of commercial offices, supported by four levels of parking, rooftop entertainment for corporate events, LED lighting surrounding the building, as well as a host of other unique features.

Work has already commenced on site with a team, which includes Virtuoso (architects), Neustone Projects (project manager), Peter Jervis and Associates (civil engineer), CPM Consultants (quantity surveyors) and HTG Engineering Consultants (MEP engineers).

One Belmont has already seen strong interest from potential tenants and investors seeking direct exposure to real estate assets. The project is scheduled to be delivered in early 2023. In September SRF successfully secured $3.2 billion in financing for the project.

The financing raised consists of a construction loan of $2.5 billion provided by National Commercial Bank and $650 million in preference shares, which was been arranged by Sygnus Capital Limited. SRF is a specialty real estate investment company, which uses flexible capital (debt and equity) to unlock value in real estate assets across the industrial, residential, commercial, hospitality and infrastructure segments.

Equity in real estate prosperity

In his presentation to the gathering at the site location, Holness while acknowledging the prosperity taking place in the real estate development across the country, appealed for equity in this prosperity. He said the equity ought to be paramount in the prosperity taking place in the real estate development across the country.

He also used the occasion to advocate that while real estate development is booming in Jamaica, the prosperity being exhibited ought to be share equitably among all the interested stakeholders from the developers to the construction workers. Holness shared with the audience his dream of seeing Kingston, Jamaica's capital city, as the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

However, he admitted to having serious concerns with the housing stock in Jamaica, as a result of the new developments taking place noting that these new developments ought to be sustainable and take into consideration Jamaica's environmental concerns. Prime Minister Holness was assured that the One Belmont development have made provisions for addressing these environmental concerns.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Beresford Grey, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of the Sygnus Group.

Beresford Grey
Work already being done at One Belmont
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) and director of the SygnusGroup Gassan Azan.
BY DURRANT PATE Observer business writer

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