The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has signed an agreement valued at J$385 million for the sale of the Oceana Hotel to King Church Property Holdings Ltd which represents a consortium with noted Canadian developers, Downing Street Realty Partners together with Jamaica Property Company Ltd, the latter being a member of the Pan Jamaica Group Of Companies. The function was held on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 in the UDC’s 7th floor Conference Room at 12 Ocean Boulevard.
According to Senator the Honourable KD Knight, OJ, QC, Chairman of the UDC Board, the signing marks another historic day in the 46 years of the UDC’s thrust to make development happen especially in downtown Kingston.
Continuing, he noted, the development of the Oceana Hotel, will breathe fresh life into downtown Kingston adding further to the solid investment by the Digicel Group in constructing their global office at 14 Ocean Boulevard, a deal which was facilitated by the UDC as well.
The Oceana Hotel will be remodeled by the King Church Property Holdings Ltd. for primary use as a hotel. The UDC has also agreed with the consortium a lease arrangement for the adjacent Jamaica Conference Centre Multistorey Car Park tenable for 25 years with option to review the terms after the first ten years.
The Downing Street Group has pledged to undertake improvement works on the Oceana Hotel and rename it Caribbean Place and partner with a global leader as deemed necessary. Additionally, the adjacent car park will see improvements in the areas of security, lighting, signage and retrofitting of elevators.
All management rights will be assigned to Kings Church Property Holdings Ltd who will manage the car park without any dislocation to current tenants.
According to Anthony Alberga, Chairman of Downing Street Realty Partners, the Caribbean Place will see a phased refurbishment starting in early 2015 with demolition of the interior and removal of debris and transformation into readiness for commercial use. The second phase will be the upgrading of the facility for use as a hotel shortly thereafter.
The sale of Oceana Hotel strengthens the UDC’s vision for downtown Kingston which is intended to be a vibrant, mixed use environment with commercial/business, civic/government, residential/resort/accommodation, cultural and recreational/entertainment uses.
Thus it is expected to facilitate all four pillars of sustainability (cultural vitality, economic health, environmental responsibility and social equity) and provide temporary and permanent jobs and assist in the growth of the economy.
Recently, the Corporation also divested a number of assets in the downtown Kingston area inclusive of Machado Complex which was sold to the Heart Trust NTA for use as a training facility. The Jamintel building was purchased by the Transport Authority to be used as their headquarters and the Victoria Pier Building is currently under negotiations with an investor for the restoration of its use as a restaurant. The UDC also sold the nearby Forum Hotel located in St. Catherine to Portmore Marina Development Ltd for mixed use development.
The Corporation is the government’s principal urban and rural development agency, since March 1968 when an Act of Parliament created the context in which it operates, to make development happen, when and where it is needed, within the framework of national priorities operating under the auspices and direction of portfolio minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica