By Denise Dennis
JIS Contributing Writer
ST. CATHERINE, Jamaica, April 29 (JIS) — Ground was broken yesterday (April 28) for a $7 billion development of a residential subdivision with 760 houses in Innswood, St. Catherine.
The project for the residential houses, dubbed The Orchards, is being done through a joint venture of the SCJ Holdings Limited and Rivi Gardner and Associates, and is set to be completed within two and a half years.
At the ground-breaking ceremony at the proposed location on Old Harbour Road, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr. Horace Chang, hailed the partnership of the government-owned land management company, SCJ Holdings Ltd. and the leading architectural firm.
Extending greetings on behalf of Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, Dr. Chang said partnership is a critical aspect of attaining economic growth. He further noted that the initiative is in line with the Prime Minister’s commitment to providing opportunities for all Jamaicans to achieve their goals.
“(When) we have this kind of pooling of Jamaican skills, that will be a sure basis for achieving growth in our economy and what the government would like to do is ensure that we can facilitate this kind of activity,” the Minister said.
He said with St. Catherine being one of the fastest growing parishes, the government is moving to ensure that the infrastructure keeps up with the growing population and industrial activity.
Prices for the two-bedroom houses, to be developed on 4,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. lots, will start at $10.75 million. The residential development is also to be served by a 62,021 square feet shopping mall and commercial centre, which will include a supermarket, pharmacy and a police outpost.
The development is being marketed to mid-low income and young families, young professionals, empty nesters, returning residents and investors.
Other critical features of the proposed facility include: five acres of fruit orchards, landscaping, kids’ play area, a two-kilometre walking trail and access to recreational and sporting facilities.
The housing development will be carried out in three phases, with the timing of phases two and three being subject to demand.
Chief Executive Officer of SCJ Holdings Ltd., John Gayle, said the company looks forward to being able to create jobs through the project, and to a community that promotes harmony with the environment when it is completed.
Meanwhile, Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, who is also Member of Parliament for South Central St Catherine, commended the project, noting that it will serve to enhance the social and economic programmes of the constituency.
SCJ Holdings Limited was developed in 2001 and became the holding company of the Sugar Company of Jamaica Limited, St. Thomas Sugar Company Limited and the Trelawny Sugar Company Limited. It now operates specifically to support job creation, improve foreign trade and increase productivity.
Through various public/private partnerships, it utilizes the assets under its management to promote investments in agriculture, aquaculture, mining, energy, construction, tourism and manufacturing.