The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) continues to work towards the fulfilment of its development plan for the restoration of Downtown Kingston through its divestment programme.
According to Desmond Malcolm, UDC General Manager, ‘this programme facilitates the strategic offloading of assets in the Downtown Kingston region which will ensure that the city benefits from the development plan and the expected growth levels.
The Oceana Hotel which currently houses the Ministry of Health is one entity which is being divested. As stated by Mr. Malcolm, “the UDC is currently in final negotiations with a developer whose plan includes the reopening of the facility as a hotel with commercial space and adequate parking”. The reopening of the Oceana Hotel has been identified as being very important by the UDC due to its potential in stimulating growth for the area. The project is expected to be completed by 2016.
Mr Malcolm commented that the construction of the Festival Marketplace Phase 1 is another project which will aid the development process. The market which will be located between the water’s edge and the existing craft market is expected to contribute greatly to the vibrancy of downtown Kingston through its offerings of aesthetic scenery, an area for dining and entertainment.
The project will complement the Kingston Craft Market which has seen its car park upgraded and main building re-roofed and improved through financing from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
The recently constructed Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre located on the corner of Church Street and North Parade is expected to have a positive effect on the infrastructure in the surrounding areas. The UDC reports that historic establishments such as the Ward Theatre and the historic Pub located alongside the Centre will benefit from the activities of the UDC as these buildings will be rehabilitated. The UDC will be providing technical assistance to the Ward Theatre and will seek to develop the Pub to serve persons who visit the Parade area.
UDC remains committed to making development happen for the people of Jamaica through its planning and implementation of development programmes while preserving the natural environment, traditions, customs and spurring economic growth.