New estate developer set to stay in Latvia

  • 2001-09-27
  • Jorgen Johansson
RIGA - After five years' working on engineering projects in Hong Kong, Hugh Jennings and his fiancée Bonnie Wong decided to try out what in Latvia is an innovative new real estate development idea: building and selling small residential houses at a fairly low price.

Jennings found a 1.56 hectare lakeside estate not far from Riga and only 3 kilometers from amenities at Adazi.

There, his and Wong's company, NewJen Development, will build 11 homes, varying in size from 170 square meters to 220 square meters. They have assembled builders and architects and the real estate company Ober Haus has been commissioned to handle sales.

NewJen can meet whatever design and color requirements customers might have, said Jennings. "Within the parameters set by the construction plans people can basically decide for themselves."

Provisionally the starting price for a house, including land and utilities would be $125,000, but this might be reconsidered in view of the economic instability which has followed this month's terrorism in the United States.

Since NewJen Development was formed three months ago, an office has been established in downtown Riga and on Sept. 13 work began on a new estate to be called Emilija's Gardens, outside Riga in the village of Adazi. "In Hong Kong it only takes a year to build a skyscraper," joked Jennings, who seemed confident of success.

Laying the first brick at the lakeside site, Mayor Normunds Breidaks praised Jennings on his choice of location and said he hoped more investment would follow. "There are quite a few housing development projects planned for Adazi, but this is the first one to actually have started," said mayor Breidaks.

Jennings also plans to fix the road leading to Emilija's Gardens and negotiations are under way for the national gas and electricity utilities to carry out infrastructure upgrades.

An Ober Haus representative, Svetlana Jurceva expressed confidence that the houses would sell well. If all goes to plan NewJen will also build on land adjoining the current project.