ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Developers who signed a multi-million dollar deal with the government earlier this month will be delivering on the first part of that deal in a matter weeks.
Bau Panel Systems has initially agreed to construct 5,000 low-income houses over the next five years, as well as establish a manufacturing plant here in the 25-year deal. The scheme is expected to eventually create as many as 1,200 jobs.
Chairman Ken Hurst said in the coming weeks the company will have model homes available for sale to potential buyers.
The homes will be constructed at four sites – in Bolans, Five Islands, Lightfoot and Lyons – on lands provided by government.
Materials for the hurricane and seismic resistant homes will be shipped to Antigua & Barbuda from Spain in order to get the project of the ground.
When questioned about the true concept of low-income, Hurst said that people should not get carried away with the idea that people earning basic minimum wage of about EC $300 per week would stand a chance of owning one of the properties on their own.
He said the finished product may not necessarily be affordable to the average low-income Antiguan.
However, the company made the agreement with Agriculture Minister Hilson Baptiste that they will design homes that are affordable to many people.
“The potential homeowners would not necessarily need local banks to facilitate the purchase for these homes because, due to the fact that we own the products that will be used to build the homes, the financing option would be easier,” Hurst said.
He said the financing would come in the form of a mortgage set up by Bau Panels Systems.
Hurst noted that this move to provide financing for the homes would open doors for potential owners who might not qualify for commercial bank loans.
The homes range from apartments to single-family homes, town houses and flats.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)