UDC aims for highest property sale in a decade

- Tuesday 21, April 2015 -

 

THE Urban Development Corporation (UDC) plans to earn $4 billion from selling resort and commercial properties this fiscal year which would represent the largest disposal in a decade.

 

The properties include Mount Edgecombe, Westmoreland; Cardiff Hall, St Ann; Old Harbour, St Catherine; and Seaside at Rose Hall, St James. The UDC will shortly begin advertising these properties for disposal, it stated.

"We believe that with the right business plan and management strategy, an investor can create jobs and spin-off industries from purchasing these properties," stated the UDC in a mailed response to Jamaica Observer queries. "We will ensure as part of the due diligence process that persons adhere to development guidelines as far as possible in line with the best use of properties."

The sale of these properties forms part of what the UDC called its corporate business strategic thrust to make 'development happen'. These real estate properties are "ideal" for resort and commercial development and are intended to "drive" national economic development, stated the UDC, which is a statutory body that aims to develop cities and towns particularly those experiencing deterioration and low investment. Part of achieving its mandate includes partnering with or selling assets to the private sector. To allay concerns of underpricing the properties currently up for sale, it will get independent valuations.

"The UDC adheres to GOJ asset divestment guidelines which require that we get at least two independent valuations from qualified and registered valuators, and this will form the basis for negotiating any sale price with private sector interests. Further, in applying best business practice principles we would not want to compromise the divestment process and influence market bidding rates, and therefore believe it is best at this time to reserve this information," said the UDC.

The sale of properties, if successful, would represent the largest disposal of properties since at least fiscal year ending March 2006. The amount earned from disposals in 2013/14 totalled $190 million and $73 million in 2014/15.

The $4-billion target represents the second highest target for disposals over the decade. In fiscal year ending 2012 the UDC aimed to dispose of $5.6 billion worth of properties but actually disposed of only $274 million.

For the ensuing fiscal year 2016, the UDC plans to spend $1.4 billion in capital expenditure for UDC investments and infrastructural works. The UDC expects to make a surplus of $18 million this fiscal year, which reverses the deficit of $15.4 million a year earlier. Contextually, it earned $414 million in the 2013/14 fiscal year.

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