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JM | Dec 8, 2021

Ground broken for $3.2-billion One Belmont real estate development

/ Our Today

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness pushing for equity in real estate prosperity

From left: David Cummings, vice president and head of real estate & finance at Sygnus with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and William Tavares Finson, director of Audere Holding Ltd.

Ground was broken yesterday for the $3.2 billion ‘One Belmont’ real estate development in New Kingston by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

The development of the property at 1-3 Belmont Road has long been the dream of property owners the Tavares-Finson family, pioneers of Jamaica’s real estate auction system.

The ‘One Belmont’ real estate project is being executed by Audere Holdings Limited, which is a special purpose subsidiary of Sygnus Group including the Tavares-Finson family.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (foreground) with Berisford Grey (left), president & CEO of Sygnus, and William Tavares-Finson (partly hidden), director Audere Holding Ltd, looking on while David Cummings, vice president and head of real estate & finance at Sygnus, shows the renders for One Belmont.

Holness, who was the keynote speaker at the ground breaking ceremony Tuesday morning (December), broke ground for the project along with Sygnus Real Estate Finance (SRF) and the Tavares-Finson family led by Williams Tavares-Finson.

The project will deliver approximately 79,000 square feet of commercial offices, supported by four levels of parking, roof top entertainment for corporate events, LED lighting surrounding the building, as well as a host of other unique features.

Pushing for equity in real estate prosperity

In his keynote presentation, Holness acknowledged the prosperity taking place in the real estate developments taking place across the country but appealed for equity in this prosperity.

He reiterated that the construction sector, of which real estate development is a crucial part, has been a driving force in Jamaica’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 Beder Zhang (left), of contractor BYD; with David Cummings (second left), vice president and head of real estate & finance at Sygnus; Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre); Berisford Grey (second right), president & CEO of Sygnus; and William Tavares-Finson, director of Audere Holding Ltd. 

The prime minister made the point that the equity ought to be paramount in the prosperity taking place in real estate developments across the country. He used the occasion to advocate that while real estate development is booming in Jamaica, the prosperity being exhibited ought to be shared 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. He however admitted to having serious concerns about 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.

He was assured that the ‘One Belmont’ development have made provisions for addressing these environmental concerns. Construction on the real estate development is slated to last for 19 months with the Chinese construction firm BYD Construction being awarded the contract to build. 

From left: Beder Zhang of contractor BYD; David Cummings, vice president and head of real estate & finance at Sygnus; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Berisford Grey, president & CEO of Sygnus and William Tavares-Finson, director of Audere Holding Ltd. 

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.

Special features of the new development

The ‘One Belmont’ project has been described as a daring response to an evolving world and reimagines the standards of Kingston’s commercial office spaces that unites design, technology and wellness to deliver a modern architectural masterpiece. The project is scheduled to be delivered in early 2023.

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.

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 the National Commercial Bank and $650 million in preference shares, which was 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.

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