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Grand Atlantic condo prices to be cut sources

Government is set to announce significant reductions in the price of the Grand Atlantic condos,

The Royal Gazette understands.

And work on reinforcing the cliff face at the controversial housing development will be done during the summer.

An announcement updating the public on the project is expected to be made soon.

Officials were not revealing anything in advance of a Government announcement, but some sources have told this newspaper that the prices of the units will be significantly reduced.

Bermuda Housing Corporation manager Barritt Dill would only say that there had been “renewed interest” in the units since the general election.

In Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance criticised the project because it failed to attract buyers.

The BHC is now under the purview of the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs, headed by Wayne Scott.

“It is threatening to become a white elephant,” Sen Michael Fahy said last year.

“The project’s failure to sell tells us that people cannot afford the Government’s version of affordable housing.”

The quango had agreed to purchase the first 78 units built as part of the planned 125 unit project, but declined an option to purchase the final 47.

“They made the best choice not to go ahead,” said the contractor. “They couldn’t sell what they had.”

Prices for the units are currently set at $495,000 for a two bedroom to $665,000 for a three bedroom with an alternative energy component.

But BHC could find no takers for the units last year and a deal was struck with Butterfield Bank to offer 100 percent financing for first time buyers. Just one unit was eventually sold.

It is unclear how price sensitive the units are. Realtors contacted yesterday were reluctant to comment.

Buddy Rego said the price point is not the only factor to consider. “A lot more depends on the qualifications to be eligible to purchase,” he said.

The units would have more appeal if they were available on the open market and not subject to restrictions.

The financing package would be another factor, he added.

Stuart Hayward, chairman of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Task Force, had other concerns.

“This (pricing) is an issue that should have the attention of the Bermuda public who are footing the bill for construction with an expectation of getting value for money spent,” he said in an e-mail.

“WE would hope that the government’s financial watchdogs will be intimately engaged in any financial dealings involving the GA site, and that they will a) act in the interest of the public and b) be fully transparent so that the public is no longer in the dark on any aspect of this wretched development.

Commenting on the impact of the change in government on the real estate market, Mr Rego said that no major changes were expected without policy changes.

“At the moment it’s still status quo. Volume year over year continues to decline.”

The industry has been calling for policy changes to strengthen the property market.

Developer Gilbert Lopes is now working on a plan to build 52 one bedroom units instead of 47 two and three bedrooms as originally planned, and sell them on the private market.

And, he says, he is seeking financing for a hotel for the property.

Mr Lopes has been making preparations to reinforce the cliff face sometime during the summer.

Mr Lopes told

The Royal Gazette that the only activity at the Warwick site was moving and preparing materials for the cliff job.

“There have been so many violations of Planning laws and policies at this site it is hard to imagine anything further being done legitimately,” said Mr Hayward.

“We (BEST) expect that any work on the cliff face will be approved first to be sure it is appropriate, within the rules, and effective.

“The neighbouring residents and the environmental community have had enough of ineffective measures, inadequate enforcement and an ever-worsening product.”

Grand Atlantic in Warwick((Photo by Akil Simmons) January 14,2013

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Published January 15, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm)

Grand Atlantic condo prices to be cut sources

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