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Rockley revitalisation

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Rockley revitalisation

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ROCKLEY IS POISED for major redevelopment.

The Fortress Caribbean Property Fund Limited SCC, which owns millions of dollars in prime real estate throughout Barbados, is planning the construction of 26 town houses in a venture called Cane Garden – phase two of its efforts to cash in on property it owns in the Christ Church area.

At the same time, Fortress officials said neighbouring property it owned in a joint venture partnership with Dowding Estates and Trading Company Ltd had received “sub-division approval” but was “in its early stages”.

There are also efforts by “a group of golf members” to acquire Rockley golf course from Dowding Estates, a move Fortress said “seems to be progressing well and if successful should be a stimulus for the Rockley development as a whole and the fund’s assets”.

News of this came as Fortress Caribbean Property Fund chairman Geoffrey Cave informed shareholders that 2014 was “very disappointing”, with the Development Fund, which owned the Rockley property, recording a $3.55 million loss.

“The Worthing Great House site is . . . to be developed as a new cluster called Cane Garden. Planning permission was recently received for the construction of 26 town houses and a quantity surveyor has been retained to cost the scheme. The real estate agency community will be invited to comment on market conditions before a decision is taken to proceed,” Fortress said in its 2014 annual report.

“The fund may look for joint venture partners based on an assessment of the market. The Rockley Cane Garden development spent $17 419 [in] professional fees in relation to the planned development, as well as property, administrative and other holding costs.”

While this property had a “net realisable value” of $1.84 million, resulting in a $460 000 impairment loss, the other property jointly owned with Dowding Estates had a $2.07 “net realisable value”.

“The two and a half acres site, formerly the central facilities location, remains undeveloped and is earmarked as phase three of the development. The re-development is in its early stages, and a date for the commencement of this phase has not yet been determined but sub-division approval has just been received,” Fortress said.

Reporting on what he pointed out was “the first full year of operations since the fund was split into the two new segregated cells [Value Fund and Development Fund] on October 1, 2013, Cave said while the Value Fund recorded a $1.87 million profit, the Development Fund’s loss was a concern.

“For the Development Fund, the significant write-downs in the values of the Funds properties over the last five years have brought them to levels that we believe must soon be of real interest to potential investors.

“With the additional 55 per cent trade discount to [net asset value], the return prospects for patient investors who are seeking capital appreciation over the long term are reasonably attractive,” he said.

“That said, the near term prospects will be challenging and the focus remains on trying to realise cash from prudent asset sales and return value.”