JOHN OF ALL TRADES

Developer John Bailey Makes His Mark, From Luxury to Historic Renovation, to the Middle Market and Back

If there is ever a place in Jamaica in need of love, it is Spanish Town. Enter, for his part, John Bailey. The businessman, known most recently for his luxury seaside villas, is readying a JMD $6 billion
greenfield project on 12 acres there: possibly the country’s first mixed-use, middle-income residential/commercial complex done at scale. Targeted to young professionals, New Brunswick
Village is an international team effort of architect Brian Morris of Plexus, branding and interiors by North Carolina firms, and overall concept, planning, and landscaping by North Carolina’s Charles A. Rulick, Jr.

The project will feel familiar to travelers to South Florida: a grand entrance opening to a shared green/walkable plaza edged by two-storey shops. Just beyond that, another tall gateway, to a series of apartment buildings and townhomes, whose upper floors look out to enormous guango treetops and mountains beyond. With luck, this will herald a new typology of walkable, ‘village’-style developments fast spreading abroad, that seek to replicate the warm, human scale and conveniences of the most
successful urban spaces through history.

The project, 70% majority owned by Sagicor, will also dovetail nicely with the future opening of a new six-storey Spanish Town Hospital five minutes away, whose doctors and staff will need quality nearby accommodation. Large companies in the area, too, Bailey says, are already purchasing apartments for use

by consultants who would ordinarily be ferried to and from Kingston hotels. The project has been so well-received, says Bailey, that they are fielding offers to replicate it across the island.

Bailey is the affable, enthusiastic head of both flavours/syrups maker Virginia Dare and Culligan Water, and is a director of companies from Dolphin Cove to education tutors One on One. The grandson of famed lawyer Clinton Hart, founder of the namesake law firm and chair of Carreras and Jamaica
Flour Mills, Bailey was on a gap year before going to Canada’s Queen’s University, working at Seawind Beach Resort for his uncle Tony Hart, when the 19-year-old met 18-year-old Denise Williams, daughter of Life of Jamaica founder R. Danny. Sparks flew, and he ended up attending the University
of South Florida alongside her instead, where he majored in business administration. They graduated together in 1983, and returned to Jamaica, where Bailey got a job with Jamaica Broilers and Denise became a travel agent at World Wide Travel Services. They were married in August 1984.

Bailey worked at Jamaica Broilers for ten years, then, now at Virginia Dare, started an asphalt division that began his interest in building and development. He got to know a team of tradesmen that has worked on his projects since. He first expanded his offices, then his own townhome, then
built Pretty Chilly, a weekend villa in Greenwich by architect Jacqui Brown. A friend saw that and asked him to add two bedrooms to his home in Norbrook. The team then moved on to create Bailey’s own home, his first, in Jack’s Hill, designed by Jeremy Milligen.