Business
JM | Jul 6, 2022

Kevin Frith to bring J$22 billion real estate development project to St Thomas 

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

administrator
Real estate developer Kevin Frith. (Photo contributed)

Real estate developer Kevin Frith, of the firm TCF Holdings Limited, is currently undertaking the largest residential development project of its kind in St Thomas, Jamaica.

The two-phased project will come in at a cost of around J$22 billion and will comprise of 396 units over 91 acres. It will be called the Sun Coast Beach Club.

The project is expected to help spur the regeneration of St Thomas which lies in the eastern part of Jamaica.

In an interview with Our Today, Frith said: “The St Thomas leg of the Highway cuts straight through the Sun Coast Beach Club. There is an underpass that connects both sides of the community.”

Sun Coast Beach Club 

“Though primarily a residential venture, there is also a commercial aspect to the Sun Coast Beach Club. The entrance will contain a 15,000-square-foot building housing supermarkets, doctors’ offices, a pharmacy and restaurants. It will very much be a mall servicing both residents and the wider community.

“The first phase will hold 133 units made up of two-bedroom townhouses and two-bedroom duplexes. Electric vehicle charging ports have also been added. This is expected to be completed in December 2023. We are in the fortunate position to be oversubscribed with 500 applications for the 133 units.

“The units will begin at US$350,000 and Frith points out that a similar sized residency would likely cost between US$480,000 to US$520,000 in Kingston.”

Artistic rendering of the three phases of Sun Coast Beach Club in St Thomas. (Photo contributed)

One of the chief selling points of Sun Coast Beach Club is that it is only a 25-minute drive to Emancipation Park in the heart of Kingston and, with the new highway, that will be reduced by around eight minutes.

Frith is seeing interest in the units coming mostly from middle- to upper-income earning Jamaicans and people living in the Diaspora looking for a home in Jamaica. Sales were officially launched on Friday, July 1, 2022.

This project will bring much-needed jobs to St Thomas and should help give it a new type of demographic outlook. Kingston is overpopulated and housing costs are exorbitant. Many Jamaicans will have to find housing solutions outside of the city and commute in. Sun Coast Beach provides a solution.

The second phase to be completed by the end of 2024 will be more upscale with three-bedroom villas that come with a private pool, three-bedroom townhouses, luxury apartments and two-and three-bedroom penthouses.

“We have been welcomed in St Thomas. The local parish council is happy about Sun Coast Beach Club and the local MP James Robertson has been helpful. Both NEPA and NWA have done a good job,” said Frith. 

Kevin Frith got into the real estate business about three years ago and he is part of a new generation of business owners making their mark on Jamaica’s private sector landscape.

For years he operated as the founder of Ideas Execution, a branding and advertising company responsible for all the great artwork branding seen on J Wray & Nephew community bars and wholesale outlets across the country.

Early days 

He made his first foray into the real estate development business with a 17-townhouse project in St Ann’s Mammee Bay, where he participated as an adviser and investor.

“I was happy with how that went and my confidence grew. I realised I was more interested in the construction/real estate business than branding and advertising. The irony here is that as a boy I loved going onto construction sites with my grandfather. I guess I got distracted along the way,” he chuckled.

With the taste of success, Frith again returned to St Ann, taking part in a bigger enterprise, this time, 92 units. He later withdrew after being unhappy with the developer’s practices. But what he saw spurred him on to form his own company with his partner, thus giving birth to TCF in 2019. The aim here was to seek out development projects that they could put their stamp upon.

Frith continued: “Someone told me about a property that was up for sale in St Thomas and I thought we could come up with a very attractive residential/commercial development. Once an agreement was reached, we set about sourcing financing. It is very difficult securing finance in Jamaica. You have to be in the right network.”

It was very much the case of Jamaican banks having little faith in an enterprising young man with ideas and ambition. It didn’t matter to them that he had already demonstrated abilities with the earlier St Ann project.

 “We sourced finance and acquired the land. We then put together a team of architects, engineers, and other professionals. We got plenty of referrals,” Frith recalled.

The work to get the project off the ground was done during the COVID shut down and the current supply-chain shut downs have made it especially challenging nevertheless Frith persevered. 

Residential properties in Kingston

The skylines of Kingston are dotted with real estate development projects. Every corner one turns on, there is a new housing solution going up. What does Frith make of it all?

“There are so many of them and the construction industry is booming. People looking for good returns are going into the residential property business. However, the prices are ridiculous, and you don’t get a lot for your money. In many instances, these developments have no amenities and no parking. I was determined that would not be the case with Sun Coast Beach Club. You must always give buyers value for money. 

Aerial view of the Kingston Metropolitan Area. (Photo: Marinas.com)

“Sun Coast Beach Club is not clustered. It has so many amenities. It is a lot like living at an all-inclusive hotel.

“What is going on in Kingston is what you see happening in developed countries – a shortage of space in the big cities. If you require space and comfort at an affordable price you have to look outside of the city. This is why Old Harbour is becoming popular.

So what’s next for Kevin Frith?

In his brief career as a real estate developer, Kevin Frith’s company, TCF, has taken on succeeding bigger projects. He has come a long way from those first 17 units in St Ann. The Sun Coast Beach Club will signal his arrival as a major player on the scene.

“We are looking at Portland and St Mary. We have our eyes on Africa, particularly Ghana where we see opportunities in affordable housing.

I would like to explore low-income housing in Kingston, particularly units in the J$17 million to J$18 million range. The problem is finding available land in Kingston.”

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