Hanna redesigns Seacliff resort project

"The resort is targeted at middle-income travellers who are largely excluded from the rich villas of Portland," said Hanna.
"There is no quality accommodation for middle-income travellers. This development will meet that specification," he said Tuesday. Seacliff will provide 60 units.
The Seacliff project was first touted by Hanna back in 2008, but "the economic meltdown" changed his plans, he said. Then, he described the project as a 28-villa development costing US$8 million.
Now he says the design has been recast from log cabins to less expensive concrete, and he has given up on plans to develop three-bedroom units in favour of studios and one-bedroom accommodation.
"The adapted concept will see cheaper concrete structures clad with logs on the outside rather than full log cabins," he said.
The revised cost for the 60 units is estimated at US$3 million to US$5 million, he said.
Hanna's company, Portland Seacliff Development Limited, received planning approval for construction from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in February.
"The NEPA approval gives us the tools to seek financing," said Hanna, who also owns the construction company, PSC Develop-ments.
Construction of Seacliff is already underway and those costs have so far been financed "in pocket", the resort developer said.
The plan includes 30 super studios and 30 one-bedroom units on the seaside of Long Bay, one of the island's longest virgin beaches.
"We want the financing, but have that in equity," said Hanna, explaining that NEPA's approval will allow him to once again approach the Jamaica Mortgage Bank for funding.
"We expect to get a response from the financiers in about six months, whether it is a yea or nay," he said.
85 per cent financing
The seven-acre development will offer investors the opportunity to purchase units at some US$180,000 with the option of entering units in the rental pool. He said that building societies have agreed to offer investors up to 85 per cent financing for units.
Portland offers a fraction of the rooms available in large tourist towns of Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. It remains a haven for travellers rather than budget tourists.
However, the imminent reopening of the iconic Trident Hotel owned by investor Michael Lee-Chin is expected to draw more tourists.
"Portland is a getaway for the wealthy. However there is a paradigm shift over the years to a new thinking of where the money lies," said Hanna, alluding to the newer bed and breakfast developments in the area.
The businessman also sits on the board of the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA), established in 1967 to represent the interests of the villa, cottage and condominium sector in the tourism industry.

27 March 2013

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