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Horizon: JDC look to France as Jersey firms ‘too busy’

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A LANDMARK St Helier development will be built as a joint venture between the States-owned Jersey Development Company and a French construction business – because local firms are too busy.

An artist's impression of the JDC’s upcoming Horizon development at the Waterfront. Picture: JDC

In one of his final acts as Treasury Minister before he hands over the reins to his successor at the start of June, Senator Alan Maclean has signed a ministerial decision authorising the sale of 50 per cent of the planned 280-apartment Horizon development at the Waterfront for £6.25 million to Group Legendre, which will enter into a 50/50 joint venture agreement with the SOJDC.

Senator Maclean said the joint venture had been discussed since October but an agreement had not been reached until recently.

He also defended the move to go into partnership with a French firm, saying that local construction companies were too busy.

Last month the Island’s Construction Council said the local industry was booming, with more than 1,000 new homes to be built in the next few years and employment in the sector at a record high.

‘While Group Legendre is not based in Jersey, the Island’s construction industry is very healthy and some argue it is overheating,’ said Alan Maclean.

‘The delay up until now is a result of an awful lot of construction companies being too busy and just being at full bandwidth.

‘There has been a lot of noise around this decision as it looks as though it has been rushed in but I can assure you it has not been a shock decision, it is the result of months of conversations and for me not to make this decision would have been costly to the SOJDC.’

A spokesman for the States echoed those sentiments and said: ‘The recent ministerial decision regarding the Horizon development adds the final detail to the original decision on this matter, which was agreed back in October 2017, several months before the current election period.

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It is the logical conclusion to a series of discussions and a process of ministerial oversight and due diligence that was begun last year, and it remains entirely consistent with the guidelines that were agreed by the States Assembly in the proposition that founded the States of Jersey Development Company.

The confidential report that accompanied the October 2017 decision set out that the SOJDC’s preferred development route was via a joint venture with Groupe Legendre, and this report was made available to the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel at the time.’

Group Legendre describes itself as a major construction, real estate and energy group, both nationally in France and internationally.

It was set up as a small family business in 1946 and has had construction at its core ever since.

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Horizon is described by the SOJDC as a landmark waterfront development encompassing 280 one- and two-bedroom apartments, a basement car park and ground floor commercial units.

It has been designed by architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and includes 20,000 sq ft of commercial space, which the SOJDC says will provide opportunities for local and national businesses.

On its website the company says: ‘When completed, a range of shops, cafés and restaurants will be ready to serve the needs of residents, visitors and nearby business professionals.’ Work is due to start this year with the development completed in three phases over three to five years.

Meanwhile, the report accompanying the ministerial decision says that no agreement has yet been reached about the dividend – amount and timing – that the SOJDC will pay to the States as a result of the Horizon development.

A minimum dividend policy for both commercial and residential developments by the SOJDC will be developed and included in the next States spending plan, it adds.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
author

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