No sunrise for Sunset Lakes housing project

Two years after it promised some 400 luxury homes on its 100-acre gated community at Providence, work on the Baishanlin owned housing project dubbed the New Life Community has come to a halt and its realtor says she is no longer representing the company.

The New Life Community project, where house lots start at $28 million and can go all the way to $105 million, lies at its Providence location abandoned and grass filled. And while there are about five structures in the compound, no one has occupied them.

Stabroek News visited the location yesterday and it appeared the same as on previous visits over the course of the year.

When contacted, Amanda Lam, who was listed as the representative for developer Sunset Lakes Inc, told Stabroek News that she no longer works for the company and directed Stabroek News to the company’s office, housed at Baishanlin’s Providence headquarters. Upon visiting, the office appeared deserted and except for a few pieces of clothing hanging from the windows and a few vehicles parked in the compound, there was no other activity.

It is unclear what plans the developers have for the area as no one has said anything on the way forward since late last year when the company advertised the sale of house lots.

The shuttered and deserted New Life Community housing project yesterday (Photo by Keno George)
The shuttered and deserted New Life Community housing project yesterday (Photo by Keno George)

Previously, Lam had told this newspaper that Sunset Lakes Inc’s aim was to capitalise on the high demand for quality homes here and the company was hoping to “break all of the records” in the housing development industry. “We wanted to do something different… wanted to do something never before seen in Guyana because we feel it’s what the people of Guyana need,” she had said.

The sales manager of the company, Zoey Song had also explained that the homes will be built European-style with all construction materials imported from the USA and China. “The uniqueness definitely sets us apart and everything is one of a kind with the highest possible standards,” Song had said.

Under the previous PPP/C administration, businessman Brian Tiwarie had signed an agreement via his Sunset Lakes Inc company with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) to purchase and develop the 100 acres of land at a cost pegged at $475 million. He paid a quarter of the sum and had six months to pay off the balance but to date, has not done so.

In 2014, Tiwarie went into partnership with Baishanlin where the company would pay him US$8 million and develop the site. As part of the agreement, he would also get to keep some of the house lots in the gated community for his personal use.

However, Tiwarie took Baishanlin to court this year for the balance of US$4 million on the agreed purchase price. When asked about the matter, Tiwarie told Stabroek News that he preferred not to comment and would let the court decide on a way forward between him and Baishanlin. That matter is still before the commercial court.

An aerial view of the New Life Community housing project (Photo by Keno George)
An aerial view of the New Life Community housing project (Photo by Keno George)

During its campaign last year, the APNU+AFC coalition which now forms the government had expressed concern at the amount of land that was being given to private investors. Some members had said that if elected into power, the coalition would scrutinise the allocations with a fine-tooth comb to check for any illegalities.

The Board of the CHPA has told private developers who were given lands under the PPP/C administration and have not yet completed the works, that they will have a chance to explain the reasons for default.

“That is a matter that the ministry and the board will have to take into consideration. I called them in because every story has two sides and I’ll be calling in the rest over the next few weeks. Let us hear what they have to say and then we take it from there,” Chairman of the CHPA Board Hamilton Green had said in late March. Green said the board was not looking at penalties as yet but wanted to analyse what the limitations were and get a “general sense of how to move forward so that the people that need homes” can benefit.

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