Donald Moore, senior general manager of construction and development at the National Housing Trust, NHT, says the redesign of the Ruthven Towers development has added at least two floors to each apartment block.
The project, to be done in phases, takes advantage, Moore said, of new density allowances that facilitates high-rise developments.
Under the original design of the Ruthven Road-based real estate project by A.G. Lowe Architects, the complex was slated to include 238 apartments, spread across four blocks, each rising six floors, on a 5.71-acre property on the cusp of New Kingston. The property once housed the Special Branch of the police force.
The original design offered one-, two-, and three-bedroom units and included a multipurpose court and tennis court, a meeting room-and-jogging trail.
Full details of the redesign, including the new number of units and development cost, were not forthcoming from the NHT.
Moore told The Sunday Gleaner on Wednesday that the single building that is being done under Phase One is now eight floors instead of six, and there was a possibility that the other three buildings in the planned development would be eight floors, “at minimum”.
“We have done quite a number of changes. One was to make the building higher. They changed the density allowance after the approval was given, and so we modified the unit size to take advantage of that. The first building is eight floors. It went up by two,” he said.
The density changes by the National Environment & Planning Agency allow developers to build an additional 25 habitable rooms per hectare, up from 50 in low-density areas; and up to 175 more rooms per hectare in high-density communities from a former high of 250 habitable rooms per hectare.
Construction of the Ruthven apartment complex began in 2018. Moore said that delivery of the first 86-one and two-bedroom units now under construction is expected within eight to 12 months.
“The construction of the structure is almost completed. It’s just Phase One that is being done now,” he said. The other buildings, he added, would be started “as soon as we are able to remove the police formations from the land”.
The NHT will begin advertising the units for sale in September, but as to the new prices, Moore said the housing agency was still “in the process of finalising that”.
The NHT had originally proposed selling the Ruthven Tower units for $16 million to $22 million. But both the new pricing as well as the possibility of offering buyers 100 per cent financing on the apartments were still under review, the NHT manager said.
Back in 2010, when the NHT initially proposed the Ruthven Towers project, its estimated cost was $1.9 billion. The cost of the development was last reported as $5.3 billion.