Young Haitian-American Invests in Luxury Housing in Haiti
- Sunday, July 08, 2012 7:50 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - As a young Haitian-American student at Columbia University, Jimmy Toussaint, is demonstrating first hand the opportunities available in Haiti by investing in luxury lodging in one of Haiti's more affluent neighborhoods.
It was a month before the earthquake that construction workers began to lay the foundation for a large estate akin to a sprawling Beverly Hills property. Little did anyone know that it would soon be hailed as one of the exciting lodging establishments set to open its doors in December 2012.
In the posh neighborhood of Vivy Mitchell, a gated community just minutes from the Haitian international airport, lies Hilltop Terrace. What is equally as interesting about this project are the people behind it.
Jimmy Toussaint is far from the traditional businessman in Haiti. He was born and raised in New York City to parents that immigrated to the states in seek of opportunity and a better life. He is also a student at Columbia University studying Financial Economics & Computer Science.
"I am only a managing partner", Jimmy says jokingly, "The people who really propel this project forward are the family that I have to support the construction of Hilltop Terrace because they believe in it and see the opportunities in Haiti."
Before the earthquake, the Toussaint family built and operated a large preliminary school for two years. Unfortunately, the earthquake destroyed the school and they are still rebuilding. â€śThe earthquake took down the school, but it didnâ€™t take down Hilltop Terrace. I guess I am half lucky then?,â€ť Jimmy said.
Jimmy has at least something to be optimistic about. The earthquake cut Haitiâ€™s hotel room capacity almost in half. All of the three star hotels in the country didnâ€™t withstand the quake. And, after the earthquake, a major influx of foreign nationals rushed into Haiti employed by major NGOs, private contractors and business men looking for new opportunity.
â€śThe market for lodging sky rocketed because having a safe place to stay in Haiti became gold after the earthquake. Vivy Mitchell is a gated community, so houses are rented for about $10,000.00 a month over here. We always wanted to invest in Haitiâ€ť, Jimmy stated. Hilltop Terrace will help meet the demand for lodging in Haiti.
â€śHilltop isn't being built as a massive hotel. That isn't what we want to be. Hilltop Terrace is mansion. I want someone to feel like they are at home when they are with us. We will have a rooftop bar and a swimming pool. If the numbers are what I think it will be in our first two years of operation, we will expand. We already own the necessary amount of property to expand if need beâ€ť, Jimmy said. In a country like Haiti that suffers from rampid unemployment projects like these are just be what Haiti needs.
Jimmy concludes,â€śI donâ€™t think I can change Haiti as a whole. I donâ€™t know if I will ever be in that position. All I can do right now is what I can and hope that I can inspire others that may have the ability to do the same. Thatâ€™s all.â€ť
Related 12.09.2011: Carlson Hotels Building in Haiti
Related 11.28.2011: 173-room Marriot Hotel coming to Port-au-Prince, Haiti