Premier tours $3m transformation of Harmony Hall into housing for elderly
VIPs yesterday toured a former hotel being transformed at a cost of $3m into housing for the elderly and emergency accommodation.
David Burt, the Premier, and Diallo Rabain, the acting public works minister, visited Harmony Hall in Paget as guests of the Bermuda Housing Corporation, which is carrying out the work.
Mr Burt said: “In our 2020 election platform, the Government recognised that the cost of housing continues to remain a challenge for Bermuda.
“We made a pledge that we would work to continue to increase the stock of affordable and available housing throughout the country and make it easier for Bermudians to get on the property ladder.
“This government is working with the BHC to fulfil this pledge to the people of Bermuda. The Bermuda Housing Corporation currently has a number of housing initiatives under way, and I am happy to be here today to see the progress being made at Harmony Hall in Paget.”
Mr Burt added: “The government is committed to continuing to increase the availability of affordable housing and this is one of the projects that will achieve that.”
Harmony Hall is one of several BHC sites being developed and upgraded as part of a twin-pronged Government plan to create jobs and provide affordable housing.
The Paget site will be used mostly housing for seniors capable of living on their own, although though some apartments may be used for temporary emergency accommodations.
The government put $1.6m towards the project as part of its economic stimulus programme and BHC will fund the remainder of the cost.
The work at Harmony Hall is expected to cost $3m and other projects are expected to cost about $2.5m.
Mr Burt added: "In addition to the work being done here, upgrades have recently been completed at the former police barracks, providing 10 studio apartments in the eastern end of the island.“
He added that two more units had been completed in the West End and “multiple” projects were under way elsewhere to increase housing availability.
Mr Burt said: "The media will recall that the Government has also made an additional $1.6m in funding available to the Bermuda Housing Corporation, to provide 17 additional affordable housing units.”
Harmony Hall is made up of four residential blocks A, B, C and D as well as the main building and the gate house.
Blocks A and C are occupied by tenants, Block D is under construction and Block B will need renovation before it can be used.
The gatehouse is being used for emergency housing.
Mr Rabain said: “The plan for the main building is still being finalised in conjunction with the master plan for the entire campus.
“Funding for the total works at the Harmony Hall site are being split between the government’s economic stimulus package and the BHC grant.
“These projects are mostly infrastructure improvements and have not added any further burden to the government’s operational expenses.”
Paul Martin, the general manager of the BHC, said that several St David’s properties were being renovated, with some completed.
Mr Martin added that 5 Captain Fox’s Lane had been completed at a cost of $90,590 and 15 Tommy Fox Road has been completed at a cost of $104,908.
He said that 1 Rock Oven Lane was 98 per cent finished and work was expected to cost $105,000.
Mr Martin added that work had started on Ripon Cottage, which was expected to cost $112,000.
Proposals for Battery Road Lofts were with the Department of Planning and the work was expected to cost $2m and plans for Regent House, expected to cost $95,000 to renovate, were also being considered by planners.