Published:Wednesday 12:06 AM
Some 24 acres of land previously earmarked for the buildout of a logistics centre in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has been acquired by newly formed company Marbella Holdings Limited, and the property is being prepared for a commercial complex,…
Some 24 acres of land previously earmarked for the buildout of a logistics centre in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has been acquired by newly formed company Marbella Holdings Limited, and the property is being prepared for a commercial complex, according to sources close to the development.
Initially, the property located at the corner of White Church Street and the Spanish Town bypass was the subject of an agreement between free zone operator Masada Jamaica Limited and lubricants blender Gulfray America’s Manufacturing Limited for development and management of the Spanish Town Free Zone or logistics centre, back in 2015, a project that was to cost US$350 million.
Altogether, Gulfray was marketing 42 acres of lands in the parish – inclusive of the 24 acres of land now being prepared – primarily to international investors. But between 2022 and earlier this year something changed.
Gulfray Americas has since relinquished its special economic zone multioccupancy developer licence, which replaced the free zone licence in 2016, and pulled its business out of Jamaica. It is unclear when or why the company closed its March Pen Road business, but a supermarket operates from the spot.
Separately, records pulled from the Titles Office of Jamaica by the Financial Gleaner showed that back in June 2022 Tools Hardware and Supplies became the new owner of the property that was once home to Gulfray Americas itself. Around the same time, Tools also acquired the neighbouring 3A Corletts Pen property.
The hardware, which is managed by Jalil Dabdoub, has spent US$3.5 million or $536 million in local currency on the acquisition of the lands and existing building.
Then in February of this year, the 24 acres of vacant lands at the corner of White Church Street and the Spanish Town By-Pass Road was acquired by Marbella Holdings, just a month after the business was incorporated.
Marbella Holdings has no listed contact details and efforts by the Financial Gleaner to get a comment from listed shareholders Alesha Simpson, Christopher Azan, Nohaud Azan and Edward Azan were also unsuccessful.
The company, which deals in letting, operating and management of commercial businesses, according to Companies Office of Jamaica records, has already pumped US$4.25 million or $658 million on acquisition of the property. The lands were previously owned by General Industries Limited.
One of the investors in Marbella, Edward Azan, is a well-known property developer. His projects include the Fontana Waterloo commercial complex in Kingston and the 10-storey Soleil Residences condominium complex in Montego Freeport.
Marbella is in the process of spreading soil to raise the land at the St Catherine property which is frequently flooded during heavy rains. However, the precise use to which the property will be put was not ascertained.