Umana housing developer says work underway

‘Nothing to hide from investors seeking refunds’

The developer of the housing scheme at Sarah Johanna on the East Bank of Demerara, who several members of the public had last week complained about, says the project is underway and that he has nothing to hide from investors seeking refunds.

Fazil Ramzan of Umana Developments told this newspaper during an interview yesterday that the project at Sarah Johanna is coming into its own, though there has been a decline in the number of persons who have indicated interest in the project.

Persons who wish to contact the developer to settle outstanding monies can do so by calling telephone number 225-6243 or by contacting him at his office at Sarah Johanna Gardens.

He said that a news item in Monday’s issue of this newspaper which highlighted the difficulty that clients had in getting into contact with him was far from the truth. Stabroek News had also attempted to contact Ramzan for comment prior to the publication of the news item but without success.

Ramzan explained that he moved from the Winter Place, Brickdam location where the entity was initially housed, to a location on Sandy Babb Street, Kitty sometime last year.

The man stated that he left the location later in the year and moved to a new base, at Sarah Johanna on the East Bank; his new location is situated at Sarah Johanna Gardens, where the project is underway.

The other project which was planned initially by Ramzan, Friendship Mews, has been pushed back to next year.

He said that the company has been making moves to refund various sums of money, which amount to approximately $10M, to persons who had initially deposited towards the project. Ramzan stated that of the 50 persons who indicated interest and signed relevant documents regarding the project, close to a dozen remain in his records, while refunds are being settled with approximately 20 persons.

He said that he had been in constant contact with persons who changed their minds about the project after making initial payments and arrangements were made with such persons over the past several months to settle outstanding amounts owed to them. Ramzan noted also that some of his clients approached the courts and he had been honouring his payments via this avenue.

The developer noted that the clients who are owed had lodged an average of $500,000 with the company for homes while there were only two persons who invested more than this: $5M and $4M. He said that there is an on-going issue in the courts regarding the project at Sarah Johanna, as several persons have been squatting on a section of the land where the housing scheme is being developed.

He recounted that in late 2008, residents within the squatting area secured an injunction from the courts regarding ownership of a parcel of land within the intended plan for the area and while the matter is still engaging the courts, the company has been constructing homes aback the squatting area, with five earmarked for completion within the next month. Ownership of the land was transferred to him sometime last year.

Notwithstanding the court matter, Ramzan said that the company decided to go-ahead and build the homes, since close to $200M was already invested in infrastructural works in the area.

He said that the houses under construction are of varying models and the cost for one starts at $8.5M. The man noted that several persons have been deterring his clients and potential clients from investing in the project, as persons travelling to the EBD location have been told various ‘rumours’ about the project.

Ramzan also stated that prospective buyers, including those from overseas, have expressed an interest in homes at Sarah Johanna Gardens.

Persons at the Winter Place location where Ramzan’s office was initially had told this newspaper that a number of persons had been making inquiries about the project, with most of them were asking for refunds from monies paid towards the project.

Ramzan disclosed during an interview with Stabroek News last January that a 4,000 by 200-ft man-made lake was likely to be the standout point of the community at Friendship which he dubbed Friendship Mews –‘Life at the lake.

’ The lake was expected to be built at the centre of the community, consisting of marinas and boardwalks at both ends.

Water-front stores and restaurants were to complete the scene at the lake.

The communities’ plans included space for shopping centres, supermarkets, day-care centres, libraries, ATM machines for major banks, private schools, a shuttle bus services, playfields and other recreational venues.

Around the Web