PHILIPSBURG– The General Pension Fund (APS) signed an agreement with contractor Liccom NV on June 18 for the construction of its new housing development project ORYX Residences in Cay Hill.
The contract signing will allow for construction of the project to commence this summer. It is expected to be completed in 12 months, by summer 2019. The agreement was signed by APS Chairman Franklyn Richards and board member Guilliano Saturnilia with Liccom Managing Director Andre Sneep.
ORYX Residences will consist of 62 units, 44 of which will be two- or three-bedroom townhouses, and 18 apartments of 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. Sale prices depend on the size of the unit. The average price will be around US $200,000 and the maximum price will not exceed $250,000 for the largest units.
ORYX Residences will be a gated community, the layout and design of which will promote a community atmosphere with a central outdoor area where neighbours can come together and socialise in a community setting.
The signing of the agreement is a welcome new milestone for APS and pending buyers. APS has been committed to fast-track the housing development project, which will offer more short-term opportunities for home seekers, especially post-Irma. APS sees these investments as a win-win for the community and the fund.
APS Director Nadya Croes-Van Putten said on Wednesday, “We were especially happy with this proposed timeframe of 12 months by Liccom. The quicker we can get the homes in the hands of the buyers, the better. A well-thought-through organisation of the construction, in our opinion, leads to the relatively short timeframe for constructing 62 units.”
The bidding and selection process for a contractor started in December 2017. APS expressed interest in selecting a main contractor with an established track record in similar projects to execute the work. Both local and international contractors were to participate in the bidding process for the housing project.
Liccom NV ultimately proposed the winning bid, after which APS started preliminary contract discussions with Liccom NV. The terms of the construction agreement were negotiated in April 2018, culminating in the June 18 signing of the construction agreement.
“Over the weeks of discussing terms of the agreement, many aspects of the project development were discussed,” APS Projects Manager Kendra Arnell said. “The discussions on the construction agreement were not always easy. However, we were content with the input from Liccom on ways to reduce construction costs while maintaining the quality of the construction.
“We are very confident that they understand what we are looking for in this development and truly know the plans and drawings to the finest and most minute detail. As a corporate citizen of St. Maarten, we see the shared benefits of these investments.
“These developments will offer a return that will enable us to continue to pay the pensions to our participants, make a socio-economic contribution to the individual buyers and the economy of the country as a whole.”
The architectural design of ORYX Residences has been prepared by local architectural firms Cicca NV and IXI Design NV. Also involved in the design and engineering are local firms Independent Consulting Engineers and Windward Electrical Company. The project management for ORYX Residences is assigned to Heren2. The building permit for the entire project has already been issued by the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI.
The design is in accordance with applicable St. Maarten earthquake and hurricane codes and regulations, as well as fire regulations. ORYX Residences will be located in a commercial and residential zoned area in Cay Hill, right behind the CC1 warehouse.
APS has hosted several information sessions for potential buyers on the project over the past months. In collaboration with Key Real Estate, potential buyers were given project details, purchasing procedures and guidelines, during the information sessions. Active APS participants were encouraged to make use of the opportunity to gather information on this potential homeownership opportunity.
“Interested buyers can opt to qualify for a mortgage issued by APS, which consists of 100 per cent financing with no down payment. Most local banks require a down payment, which could easily lead up to 30 per cent of the purchase price. APS believes that this incentive will help in particular young professionals in buying a home,” said Van Putten.
APS has invested assets in real estate and embarked on a number of real estate development projects over the years. By developing properties in which APS has invested, the expectation is that return will be generated and contribute to the appreciation of the pension fund’s assets and capital.