As the Forestiere Housing Development Project gets underway, Chairman of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) Timothy Mangal has revealed that first-time landowners will be given priority to purchase these lots.
Mangal who made an appearance on News Maker Live on Wednesday evening said that not only will priority will be given to first-time land owners, but there will no preference based on political affiliation.
“We are mostly concerned about the person’s ability to pay… It will be for Saint Lucians. It will also be based on their geographic location, their age group and most of all their ability to pay for those lots,” Mangal stressed.
The NHC chairman said that the project will have some of the best infrastructure.
“It will have concrete roads, concrete drains. It is going to have of course the utilities: water, electricity, fire hydrants. And all of that is coming with the contractor at a fixed price contract to NHC which means therefore there would no cost overruns on this project,” he added.
While admitting that there may be unforeseen circumstances of natural disasters that can impede the project, Mangal said barring this, there will not be an increase in cost under normal circumstances.
He said works have started and are going smoothly despite there have been some slight delays due to the current weather condition.
“To date, we have most of the excavations completed for the roads and we have the slotted drains for the construction.”
While the project started with 63 lots, three acres were added, moving this number to 73. Despite the slight change, Mangal claims that the cost of the project remains the same.
Questioned as to why the project did not include constructing homes, the NHC chairman explained that based on the geographic location, a decision was made to build lands only, because most people in those areas prefer to build their own homes. He said it also serves as a fast turn over for the NHC, which is currently facing financial issues.
“Rest assured, next year, there will be some very exciting packages coming along with core units,” he added.
The cost for the Forestiere lots will range from $10 per square foot, with approximately 5,000 square feet for each lot.
“We are looking at an average of about $50,000 for each, and I must add that for the quality of the infrastructure of that development, if it were a private run project, it would have run at region of a minimum $16 per square foot.”
Mangal said it is a bargain for buyers and it will be creating equity for them to be able to start their building project.
The project has an 8-month life. Construction commenced about one month ago.
The first phase of the project is currently being surveyed and the first 14 lands could be ready for purchase in early 2017.