Athletics star Yohan Blake has paid the Jamaica Government j$52 million for a run down property at 11 Jack’s Hill Road in St. Andrew.
But Blake will need to spend heavily on fixing the property, as its condition has deteriorated badly in recent years and is said to require “major repairs”, by one official close to the transaction.
The Government acquired the property from Ernest Wedgewood in 1964 for 10,000 pounds. Now, 50 years on, its value rose 5,000 times higher.
The sale of the 2,635,965- square metres single-family residence by the National Land Agency (NLA), was approved by Cabinet in July.
Utilized as a residence for government officers, the property fell into disrepair in recent years, due mainly to its infrequent use. Even the NLA reported that major upgrading work was needed to restore it to its former glory.
One government source told the Jamaica Observer that some of the money earned from the sale will be used to maintain existing Government houses and put toward the purchase of newer properties in the State’s housing stock.
Blake, 24, who is from humble dwellings in Bogue Hill, St. James, rose to prominence as a St. Jago High school athlete in becoming the first teenager to dip under the 10-second barrier for the 100m. In 2009 at age 19 years and 196 days, Blake ran 9.93 seconds in Paris, France.
Blake, who was quoted as saying he wasn’t born with a gold spoon in his mouth, had a tough childhood and had to miss school on several occasions because he had no money and had to sell bottles to survive.
Now Blake, with personal bests of 9.69 and 19.26 seconds for the 100 and 200m, respectively, is reported by Celebrity Networth to be valued at US$2 million (approximately J$226 million).
Only at the 2012 London Olympics, Blake sported a Richard Mille designer watch in the colors of the Jamaican flag that was said to be worth US$500,000 valued at J$44 million at the time.
However, the International Olympic Committee has strict guidelines as to what athletes can and cannot wear while competing, and with Omega being the official watchmaker of the Olympics, Blake’s action irked organizers.