Cold­well Banker real­tor pours money into down­town prop­erty

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Avia Collinder Busi­ness Re­porter avia.collinder@glean­erjm.com

REAL­TOR AN­DREW Issa is spec­u­lat­ing that the value of down­town Kingston real es­tate is about to es­ca­late as on­go­ing in­vest­ments from pub­lic and pri­vate en­ti­ties take shape, and is sink­ing money into prop­erty to await the pay­off.

Two head­quar­ters projects are un­der way, one by GraceKennedy Lim­ited and an­other by the gov­ern­ment which is build­ing a com­plex for the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs & For­eign Trade, both on the wa­ter­front.

Issa’s Cold­well Banker Realty Ja­maica has set up a sis­ter com­pany, Ad­mi­ralty Sword Lim­ited, to buy, de­velop and hold prop­erty, which is “cer­tain to ap­pre­ci­ate” once those two ma­jor projects are com­plete, he said.

The new com­pany is tak­ing ad­van­tage of the in­cen­tives of­fered to de­vel­op­ers in the cap­i­tal in hopes of in­ject­ing new life into its di­lap­i­dated in­fra­struc­ture.

The ur­ban in­cen­tive pro­gramme man­aged by the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of­fers tax re­lief on cap­i­tal in­vest­ments in ei­ther land or build­ings, whether res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial. There are three types of in­cen­tives — an ur­ban re­newal bond, an in­vest­ment tax credit and tax free rental in­come.

OLD CHARM

Through Ad­mi­ralty, Issa has in­vested in two build­ings that sit side by side at Har­bour Street, which are now be­ing ren­o­vated for rental.

“The build­ings have some good his­tory – one of them was the Old Lip­ton Tea Fac­tory; one was the LS Duhaney build­ing which used to have all types of busi­nesses. You should see the old tile sand, the mould­ings — you would re­ally see the charm of it,” he said.

“The whole idea is to find ten­ants and if a pos­si­ble also open an of­fice down­town. All space will be rented. We are go­ing to hold those prop­er­ties be­cause when Grace is fin­ished and the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs is fin­ished that whole area is go­ing to come alive. It will re­ally look great when it’s done.”

The prop­er­ties at Har­bour Street were pur­chased for $40 mil­lion, but Issa oth­er­wise de­clined to re­veal the full scale of the in­vest­ment he is mak­ing to bring them to mar­ket, which in­cludes the ad­di­tion of 50 park­ing spa­ces. He plans to rent at rates “20 per cent less than up­town”.

As to the prospects for rental, Issa said there are prospects but he was not ready to sign ten­ants.

“We did have in­ter­est, but we were not press­ing it be­cause we are not 100 per cent fin­ished. Next door we had to bring in floor­ing – metal sheet­ing from over­seas – and then we had to put a roof on that. Ideally, we hope to have both build­ings rented for Jan­uary 1, 2018,” he said.

Ad­mi­ralty doesn’t have any new ac­qui­si­tions lined up, but Issa said that’s largely be­cause they can­not lo­cate the own­ers of aban­doned down­town prop­er­ties.

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

An­drew Issa stands in front of a build­ing he is ren­o­vat­ing through Ad­mi­ralty Sword Lim­ited, at 59 Har­bour Street in Kingston on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 13, 2017.

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