THE Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has set a target to build some 8,000 units of public housing over the next five years, according to a paid press advertisement last Friday seeking expressions of interest (EOI) in the project.
The distinctive features of the advert were firstly a shift from small/medium contractors to large operators with a financial capacity of over $10 million, and secondly a requirement for them to use their own funds in a design-build-finance model of public-private partnership.
The HDC sought expressions on interest from “contractors, land developers, engineering firms, architects and/or other related joint ventures and consortiums.”
“The HDC in fulfilling its mandate to provide affordable housing will be implementing a series of initiatives geared towards the delivery of 8,000 housing units in the period 2020-2025.” The HDC said last January it had targeted contractors with a financial capacity of less that $10 million to participate in its Small and Medium Contractors Housing Initiative (SMCI.)
“The HDC now wishes to invite entities with a financial capacity in excess of $10 million to enter into a design-build-finance public-private partnership with the HDC for its 2020-2025 housing construction programme.”
For this Large Contractor Housing Initiative (LCHI), operators were invited to submit EOIs demonstrating their capacity to do design-build-finance services for infrastructure works and/or for single and multi-family housing construction. Submissions must be made by September 28 to the HDC office at South Quay, Port of Spain.
At last Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said he had earlier spoken to Housing Minister Pennelope Beckles-Robinson about building units to cost from $250,000 up to 1.0-1.5 million each.
Contacted for commment on Sunday on whether or not local operators had the appetite to self-finance such construction to the tune of 8,000 units in the current economic lull, Minister Beckles-Robinson promised to reply once she digests a recent brief on the project.
Offering her initial thoughts, she said, “It is a very interesting area. I could tell you there is a lot more response to get the private sector involved.”