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by WADE GIBBONSGOVERNMENT WILL OVERSEE a massive housing development project in St Lucy that appears set to transform the parish’s physical landscape.In a ministerial statement yesterday in the House of Assembly, Prime Minister David Thompson said a group of local, Caribbean and United States entrepreneurs and other interests, operating under the name North Ridge Development Company Limited, was scheduled to commence the project on 200 000 square feet of land at Pickering this year. The major initiative will involve the construction of 1 161 residential units.Thompson said the project would include a 200-unit hotel, a private day-care centre, a primary school to accommodate 350 pupils, recreational amenities, heritage parks, greens, lakes, tree-lined boulevards, an amphitheatre, bus terminal and a sewage treatment plant.Among the other areas of the project which will be finalised over a nine-year period are doctors’ offices, health clinic, pharmacy, professional offices, beauty and barber shops, supermarkets, convenience stores and a cinema.Thompson said central to the development were the green theme ambience, aesthetics and creation of a holistic community which would provide a safe, comfortable environment for Barbadians.He said provision would be made for low and middle-income earners to access affordable housing and the size of the houses would compare favourably with other residential units.“In addition, the selling price per square foot has been projected to be lower than the affordable middle income product ranges now being offered,” he said.Thompson explained that this was as a result of lower land costs, advanced building methods, and the benefits of concessions to be obtained from Government which would be passed on to the purchasers.The Prime Minister said an agriculture component was included in which 20 acres of land would be used. He also indicated that 75 000 square feet of land would house a light industrial facility.Thompson said the project, which is to be built on Pickering Plantation lands which went on sale in 2007, would make use of the connection of National Heroes Dr Charles Duncan O’Neal and Errol Barrow to the parish. He said they would be the focus of a major heritage civic centre on 12.94 acres that would reflect their lives.“The development of Pickering has the potential to provide the socio-economic base which is required to ensure that the future development of St Lucy is harmonious and sustainable,” he stated.Thompson said Government stood to realise increases in revenue during and after the construction phase from payroll and property taxes, income tax, transport services and VAT.It was anticipated that 600 full-time jobs would be created at peak construction periods and sustainable employment opportunities would be provided for 300 people to support the residential and business aspects of the [email protected]

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