The state-owned Social Security Board (SSB) said it has signed an agreement to facilitate the design and building of 43 residential units at Joe’s Hill in the Road Town area, adding that the project will cost just over $11 million.
The agreement was signed on January 5 with the joint venture team of James Todman Construction (JTC) and Larry Adams Construction Companies (LAC).
“The Joe’s Hill Housing Development carries a contract sum of $11,150,612. The development comprises of approximately 7.054 acres of land to include a collection of 43 homes ranging from one to three bedrooms in condos and single family homes. The development encompasses scenic views and will boast a gym, a playground, commercial and green spaces, and ample parking,” said the SSB.
Its Director Antoinette Skelton stated that more than 100 persons already have expressed an interest in purchasing a home through the SSB housing development initiative.
She noted that the SSB is still ‘committed to advance the housing project to other areas of the territory’.
Chairman of the state-owned entity, Ian Smith, hailed the signing of the agreement as a proud moment for the Virgin Islands and the SSB.
According to him, the investment will enable Virgin Islanders and Belongers to own their own homes, thus creating the opportunity for individual wealth building.
Smith pointed out that the project ‘will also stimulate the economy through the creation of hundreds of jobs and the circulation of money throughout the economy by the multiplier effect’.
The chairman went on to give SSB contributors this assurance: “The Social Security Board will not be assuming the risk of the development as the end financing, for the relevant individual mortgages will be done through the local banks.”
The SSB said it expects returns of 7% to 12% on the local real estate development investments.
Speaking on behalf of joint venture team (JTC/LAC), contractor James Todman pledged to construct the housing development in a timely manner, with quality and professionalism. Representative of LAC, Larry Adams, was also at the contract signing. So too were other SSB members – Anghel George,Simon Potter, and Vereen Vanterpool.
According to the SSB, it has had a long history of investments in real estate internationally – including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The first-time home owners initiative will be no different, the entity added.
It explained: “The Social Security Board, as part of its investment policy, has the capacity to invest anywhere from 10% to 20% of the Social Security Reserve Fund into the local economy. Previously, these investments took the form of large scale infrastructure and capital development financing.”
“Given the pressures on interest rates and returns on investments, the Social Security Board looked at an alternative investment strategy that would increase the portfolio’s return while stimulating the economy and ensuring the long term viability of the Social Security Fund,” the SSB further said.
It noted that its Reserve Fund currently stands at approximately $580 million with $192 million invested in US and Global equities; $206 million invested in fixed income and convertible fixed income; $80 million in local credit and equity investments; and $98 million in CD’s and cash at local banks.
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