The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has announced a successful divestment campaign resulting in the J$1.3 billion sale of a number of key properties and lease arrangements since the appointment of its current Board in 2012.
These properties include Machado Complex (J$104 million), Jamintel Building (J$150 million), Oceana Hotel (J$385 million), Lot 21, (J$75 million), all in Downtown Kingston; the Forum Hotel (J$350 million), St. Catherine and Mahogany Inn (J$240 million), Negril.
Lease agreements were also signed for the Ideal Warehouse and Victoria Pier both in downtown Kingston.
Speaking at a media briefing Tuesday, February 10, 2015, Senator KD Knight, Chairman of the UDC Board says 75% of the sales proceeds will be reinvested in local projects. According to Senator Knight, ‘the UDC is now more sustainable and its finances can be and will be firm’. The financial improvement of the Corporation has enabled it to pursue key transformative projects such as the start of works at the Festival Marketplace adjacent to the Kingston Craft Market where an area for restaurants, entertainment and recreational kiosks will be built. This is being preceded by landscaping and beautification works along Ocean Boulevard aimed at enhancing the social-cultural hub along the waterfront.
Through its capital funds, the UDC has also invested in the Pearly Beach beside Laughing Waters in St. Ann where local and international leisure market patrons can now enjoy a unique beach experience.
The remaining revenue from the divestment exercise has been used to shore up the UDC’s financial position which was in a delicate state prior to 2012. Although the Corporation has not achieved full profitability status, projections are that it will break even by the end of this financial year. This is based on the trend of steady improvement in financial performance. In fact, over the past year ended March 30, 2014 the Corporation moved from a net operating loss of $721.26 million in 2013 to a net operating loss of $184.703M at the end of 2014. This represents tremendous positive turnaround of $536.56 million.
Since the start of the tenure of its Board three years ago in 2012, the UDC has saved significant sums of money through creative strategies including divestment of key assets, reorganization of its human resources and reduction of administrative expenses.
Members of the UDC Board include , Senator Lambert Brown, Trade Unionist, Cllr Marsha Francis, Mr. Ralston Hyman, Economist, Mr. Shalman Scott, Businessman, Mr. Mark Nelson, Civil Engineer, Mrs. Marcia Edwards, Physical Planner, Ms Pamela Redwood, Administrative Executive, Mr. Jahlil Dabdoub Jnr, Businessman, Mr. Andrew Azar, Businessman, Lt. Col. David Cummings, JDF Engineering Regiment, Mr. Clinton Clarke, Marketing Executive, Mr. Derrick Webb, Engineer, Rev Msgr Michael Lewis, Mr. Norman Minott, Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Patrick Peterkin, Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Reynold Scott, Engineer and Land Developer, Ms. Sonia Hyman, Representative from the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Robert Martin, Representative from the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
Desmond Malcolm, General Manager leads the UDC’s Executive management team since August 2012. His tenure to date has continued the redevelopment focus in downtown Kingston as well as the other areas of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth.