Barita buys Reggae Beach
Financial firm plans multipurpose development at location
A section of Reggae Beach in western St Mary.

BARITA Investments has made its latest real estate acquisition, purchasing the St Mary-based Reggae Beach property from billionaire Jamaican/Canadian businessman, Michael Lee-Chin.

The purchase was made through the investment and brokerage firm’s special purpose vehicle, MJR Real Estate Holdings. The purchase price was not disclosed. It is understood the sale was completed a few months ago.

A source close to the deal indicated to the Jamaica Observer that the property is valued at US$50 million or about $7.5 billion. The disclosure of the purchase comes in the wake of Barita raising $10.78 billion in an additional public offering (APO) in September last year.

Reggae Beach is an over-250-acre property which is located midway between Ocho Rios, St Ann and Oracabessa, St Mary. The Sunday Observer understands that the property is to be used to enter into a major public/private arrangement with the Government for a multipurpose, “one-stop essential services development” project.

That project is expected to include the development of a tax office, hospital, courthouse, educational facility and police station. The cost of the impending development was not disclosed. The timeline for the project being completed is not immediately clear. However, work is expected to begin in 2023.

The development is being planned as the Government moves to partner with private sector stakeholders to begin work on increasing access outside of the Corporate Area to key essential services subsequent to Jamaica 60 celebrations.

The Sunday Observer has seen official documentation where the National Works Agency (NWA) in April this year gave conditional approval for the realignment of a section of the Frankfort to Gayle main road which is necessary to complete the project.

It’s understood that the nearby, approximately three-acre Ruins Property, through which Dunn’s River Falls traverses, has also been purchased by Barita.

In 2008 Reggae Beach was used to host the Caribbean Urban Music Awards.

Two years later, the property was voted by Readers of Lonely Planet guidebook and magazine as the ‘Greatest Cultural Tourism Experience’.

Reggae Beach won the vote despite competition from ballet at Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Salsa dancing in Havana, opera in Italy and authentic blues in Chicago.

— Dashan Hendricks

Dashan Hendricks

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