Thursday, October 13, 2005

Government announces three more projects – 900 homes

Affordable housing schemes

Chief Minister Peter Caruana yesterday announced the construction of a further 900 “affordable homes for sale” in three different projects in the south district.

The developments will be carried out by OEM International Ltd and are set for completion by March 2008.

The Government will receive £15m from the developers which includes a £1m donation to build a swimming pool for the elderly. It is estimated that the developer will be investing in excess of £60m on the affordable housing phase.

Mr Caruana said the prices for the flats will be “a little higher than Waterport Terrace.”

A Gibraltar Government spokesman said:

“The Government and OEM (International) Limited are pleased to announce developments on three sites that will provide up to 900 affordable apartments for sale to local buyers.

Up to 200 flats will be built at the site of the old Rosia Tanks (just South of Rosia Plaza) to be known as Nelson’s View; up to 200 flats will be built at the site of the ex-Cumberland Building in Cumberland Road to be known as Cumberland Terraces; and up to 500 flats will be built at North Gorge to be known as North Gorge.

The Nelson’s View and Cumberland Terraces developments will be ready by September 2007, and the North Gorge Development by March 2008.

The latest light steel frame construction in widespread use in the UK and the USA.

Sale prices will be fixed in agreement with the Government and will be of the same order as Waterport Terraces but a little higher. The Government will specify the eligible purchasers and supervise and participate in the allocation process to ensure that properties are sold to established residents of Gibraltar.

The sizes and room configuration of the flats will be decided after the Waterport Terraces flats are allocated to ensure that unsatisfied demand at Waterport Terraces will be met by these developments.

In addition the developer will be permitted to develop up to 100 high value properties at Buena Vista and to convert the Buena Vista Stone block (presently used as a hostel) into an apart-hotel.”

Workers mostly Moroccan immigrants, will be relocated into a new, model hostel that will be built by Government on Rosia Road (site of ex-Tower building). It will also accommodate those from the Devil’s Tower Hostel. Mr Caruana described this as a vastly improved facility in relation to the “ramshackle accommodation” afforded to immigrant workers in the past.

The Government spokesman added:

“These three further quality, affordable housing schemes, added to the 396 flats at Waterport Terraces, will provide up to 1300 (depending on size and configuration) during the next two years or so.

Around 1200 applications were received for Waterport Terraces, so that is probably a fair indication of the level of demand that presently exists. The Government will however continue to work on further housing projects both for rental and to satisfy the next wave of demand for home ownership.”

Mr Robert Noonan, Chairman of OEM International Limited, said:

“I have been involved with Gibraltar for over 12 years and via my Irish Trusts, with the benefit of the corporate professional facilities available in Gibraltar, build up a property portfolio of considerable proportion. In the International market place, I have been involved in 3 publicly quoted companies with an aggregate value of £500m.

Our Gibraltarian architects and engineers have designed these 3 property schemes for both low cost housing and high value properties in Gibraltar using modern construction techniques. The system comprises of a factory made steel frame work, designed for time efficient construction and maximum durability in terms of external finishes.

A further aspect of our programme is that we have been in close liaison with a major bank in Gibraltar, to provide “the prospective purchasers” up to 95% funding (subject to status), plus 100% bridging finance should it be necessary.

Separately from these commercial transactions I want to put something directly back into a community that I have been part of for 12 years now. I have therefore made a donation of £1m towards a Government Social Project. I am delighted that the Government has chosen to use this donation to fund the new swimming pool currently under construction at Europort Avenue for the elderly and disabled. Given my own advancing years, I look forward to using it myself!”

The Chief Minister also announced that there are plans for the refurbishment of Rosia Bay as a public leisure amenity area.


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