Fri | Aug 23, 2019

Qatari firm to underwrite Amaterra resort development

Published:Thursday | April 18, 2019 | 12:30 AMAvia Collinder - Business Reporter
Photo by Albert Ferguson 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre, blue suit), other Jamaican officials and officials of Amaterra Group participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the 8,000-room resort on Friday, April 12.
Photo by Albert Ferguson Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre, blue suit), other Jamaican officials and officials of Amaterra Group participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the 8,000-room resort on Friday, April 12.

Investors Keith and Paula Russell have joined with principals in a Qatari firm to deliver a 8,000-room, all-inclusive beachfront resort development in Duncans, Trelawny, for which ground was broken on April 12.

Designed in the form of a township, the first phase in a series of developments on 1,000 acres of seafront property will include 1,200 rooms, Amaterra Group Communications Manager Tess Maria Leon said on Wednesday.

The related investment is in the ballpark of US$550 million, she told the Financial Gleaner.

The project is to be financed by Rexton Capital Partners, a Qatari company owned by Mustapha Deria and Guillermo Velasco, as outlined in the project brochure.

Rexton, it was noted, will manage investor relations for the Amaterra Group and will “leverage its network of experienced international development partners and investors” to provide financing.

Keith Russell has been trying to launch the Amaterra project for many years and was one of four developers that sought approval for the development of casino resorts. The other three were Celebration Jamaica in Montego Bay, Jamaica Casino Royale in St Ann’s Bay, and Harmony Cove project in Trelawny.

Celebration Jamaica and Harmony Cove, which received provisional approval for the resorts, have so far failed to execute the plans.

Amaterra’s project originally proposed the development of an integrated tourism and residential enclave at Duncan’s Bay. The mixed-use development comprised five ocean-side hotels with 2,300 rooms; 2,000 residential lots; commercial space; an entertainment and dining complex; a large convention centre; casino and attractions; and an 18-hole championship golf course.

A release issued by the company this week said that the groundbreaking of the resort signifies the first step of the group’s major integrated real estate development which will incorporate tourism, commercial and other elements.

“ The completed project, which will take the shape of a township, which will include resorts, entertainment facilities, theme parks, a pedestrian town centre, manufacturing facilities, special economic zones, and much more,” it said.

Jamaica’s investment agency Jampro has helped to promote Amaterra as a development comprising over 40 approved parcels of land for residential lots and five parcels for five five-star hotels.

Russell has not shared the details of the financing arrangement from Rexton or any other partner.

Amaterra’s board includes Keith and Paula Russell, Tourism & Leisure Development International owner Francisco Fuentes, and Rexton Capital owners T. Mustapha Deria and Guillermo Velasco.

The first Amaterra resort is expected to span 27 acres.

The project has been designed to include two U-shaped campuses with a shared main common building.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com