WORKS on the construction of 500 Public Rental Board flats at Raiwai and Raiwaqa in Suva are progressing well says PRB general manager Mesake Senibulu, adding 50 per cent had been completed for the homes in Raiwai.
However, the initial 250 flats earmarked for this area has been reduced to 208 to give more space between flats.
The $20million commercial contract signed with China Railway First Group Company Limited in June 2010 has since seen sky-high construction machines towering over the Raiwai and Raiwaqa area as works continued over the past two years.
"The purpose of the reduction of 42 flats for Raiwai is to give more space, some aesthetic and environmental benefit to tenants who will come in to occupy flats," Mr Senibulu said.
"It is also meant to give some space for encouragement for some backyard gardening.
"This is something we have been promoting to other tenants in other estates to do and proving very successful. Raiwaqa is in its planning stage." In terms of the number of interested tenants applying for a place at the new flats, Mr Senibulu said they had received 53 applications at their office and a few more approved applications at the Hibiscus Festival housing booth.
"About 50 other applicants have taken application forms and have not brought it back for further processing," he said.
"We will need to set up our marketing strategies of these flats once we have sorted out the rate to he charged per flat."
Mr Senibulu said they had agreed with the contractors to release 46 flats consisting of three blocks at the lower end of Raiwai.
"They (contractors) have been working very hard to ensure these flats are ready by the end of this year so that prospective tenants can begin the New Year in Raiwai," he said
The other 146 flats, he said, would be ready towards the end of 2013. PRB chairman Mosese Tikoitoga said earlier $11m would be used on the construction of one and two-bedroom flats at Raiwai and $9m for the same in Raiwaqa. The loan from the EXIM Bank in China is under the same financial cover accorded for the Housing Authority's $50m housing project.