Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Ruthven Towers to hit the market June 2021

Published:Sunday | July 12, 2020 | 12:16 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter
National Housing Trust headquarters, Park Boulevard, New Kingston
National Housing Trust headquarters, Park Boulevard, New Kingston

Phase one of Ruthven Towers, the residential development that sparked concerns over unit prices that were more expensive than those normally set by the National Housing Trust, NHT, will soon be placed on the market.

The NHT subsequently returned to the drawing board for a redesign of the complex but is not saying what the new prices of the units will be. The units are to be assigned to successful applicants in June 2021, but NHT has not said when the selection will take place.

The development broke ground in September 2017. Construction of the first 86 one- and two-bedroom units in the residential complex is now 56 per cent complete.

Under the original design of the Ruthven Road, Kingston-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.

It offered one, two, and three-bedroom units and included a multipurpose court and tennis court, a meeting room, and a jogging trail.

But last August, the NHT announced a redesign of the Ruthven Towers development, under which it added at least two floors to each apartment block. The new layout also includes an underground parking garage.

The redesign came in the wake of planning adjustments by the National Environment and Planning Agency that allowed for high-rise developments.

A total of 320 one- and two-bedroom units will be made available to qualified contributors once both phases are built. Phase two will comprise 234 units. The overall cost of the development was last reported as $5.3 billion.

The NHT had originally proposed selling the Ruthven Towers units for $16 million to $22 million but on Wednesday told the Financial Gleaner that the final prices for the units would be made available when the development is advertised for intake.

The proposed prices were seen as more akin to the quotations that come from private developers whose market tends to be in the middle- to upper-income categories, whereas the NHT has traditionally served the lower end of the market.

The NHT will be offering 100 per cent financing for the development, subject to affordability.

In responding to queries about how the units will be allocated among public- and private-sector workers, the NHT said it has the option of reserving units for special-interest groups in keeping with the approved special benefits order for the development.

Otherwise, it said qualified contributors will be required to apply via its online system and would be selected in accordance with the Priority Index Entitlement, or PIE, system it uses to assign units.

Using the PIE system, persons applying for a scheme house benefit are selected for an interview based on a combination of factors, including proximity of the scheme to the applicant’s workplace or residence. The housing trust also takes into consideration the number of weekly contributions made by the applicant. Points are awarded under PIE based on the number of years the applicant has contributed to the trust and their income.

Persons who earn less income earn more points in the selection system.