Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | April 29, 2009
Home : Business
Small developer puts houses on soft market
Mandeville-based property developer and businessman, Garfield Wilson, has put a $55-million housing complex on the real estate market softened by tightened lending and a contracting economy.

While the five three-bedroom town houses at Cedar Gardens in Mandeville, Manchester, is a relatively small development, it is Wilson's first big project, the developer told Wednesday Business.

Based on Wilson's numbers, each townhouse would have cost $11 million on average to develop.

Spacious development

Financed with commercial bank loans, the real estate investor is looking to middle income professionals to take up the gated 2,200 square-foot units, which are going for $18 million each.

According to Wilson, despite the tight market, the development's spacious rooms, custom-built doors, general high-quality finishing, security features, including remote-controlled gates, and enclosed car ports, are expected to be strong selling points.

"Townhouses tend to be very open but what we try to do is make it a house within a house. It is very spacious with large bedrooms," Wilson noted.

He said construction on the three quarters of an acre property started in January last year and was recently completed.

Prospective buyers are being invited to view the units later this week.

Offloading the units

Wilson, a 42-year-old businessman who has owned and operated a liquor store in the central Jamaica town for the past 20 years, said he went into construction to diversify his business. This is his sixth year in the construction sector.

The plans for the project would have been drawn up and financing arranged before the real manifestation of the setbacks caused by the general economic downturn, which has not spared the real estate business, and the developer is now concerned but hopeful about his ability to offload the units.

Hesitant market

"There is a little doubt in the back of my mind due to the financial situation. We detect a little bit of hesitation on the market," he said.

Against this background, he is pushing his townhouses as good value for money.

Wilson said he has built and sold single-unit houses in the Mandeville area before but will now be putting the brakes on any new construction ventures in light of market uncertainties.

"We have some projects lining up but because of the economy right now, we are just having a wait-and-see attitude."


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