General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation Dr Damian Graham has encouraged groups, with an interest in the works to develop a new Parliament building, to consolidate and enter a public private partnership with the Corporation to help with the build out.
Plans are underway to develop a Government Campus which will include the new Houses of Parliament and Museum along with the building of offices for core ministries and agencies. This is to be located in The King George the VI Park, the southern part of which is occupied by the National Heroes Park in downtown Kingston.
The project which is expected to last up to eight years will see the 300 acres being developed under an urban renewal programme to include a new Parliament building replacing the current one on Duke Street, a museum along with the construction of ministries and agencies and urban renewal of the zone.
Dr Graham was speaking during a recent meeting with members of professional affiliates in the development/construction industry including engineers, architects and quantity surveyors.
The Government has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Construction of the Americas South America Division (CCASA) which is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd. (CSCEC) — one of the world’s largest investment and construction groups and a fortune 500 company —operating in North and South America.
The MOU provides for the UDC and CCASA to collaborate in relation to the preliminary phase of the Government Circle Project which will include the creation of a development proposal, the sharing of knowledge, technical resources and information with a view to the development of the Project.
“We have a capacity building arrangement with CCASA. They have put themselves forward under the MOU; they have pledged under the MOU their own technical services architects, engineers and planners to work under the guidance of the UDC. So they will work for us and we will be directing them,” Dr Graham told persons.
“Why did we use them? “the government identified them as strategic partners because of their share capital, their competence in doing other developments like this and the fact that they are willing to support us in doing the concept development,” he added, noting that CCASA had also submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government to carry out the master plan and concept development for the programme. The concept development is expected to last 12 months.
“At the end of concept development, we would have had the programme and budget related to the 300 acres to be developed for us then to look at doing detailed development and procurement of services,” Dr Graham explained. He however pointed out that the MOU is nonbinding and as such any Jamaican contractor or consortium of contractors who want to provide similar time, talent and money to the project would not be prevented from doing so.
Furthermore in addressing concerns that the UDC was expecting citizens to give their services for free while the foreign contractor would be paid, he noted “every project the UDC has undertaken we have sought to ensure that local contractors and professionals are retained and so it is at the procurement stage that we anticipate retention of persons in a paid way because funding would then have been allocated towards the project not just for the building of the parliament but towards the zoning as well”.
He further pointed out that the approach was not novel as in the past the UDC has used architects from Canada and other countries to help it with different projects.
In the meantime, Dr Graham said it was intended to complete the project without getting into debt. “Moneys that are paid for rent now when we consolidate the ministries then those monies will be used as funding. We are also cognisant that members of the diaspora want to be a part of the funding,” he said adding that efforts will also be made to access grant funding from various sources.
“We don’t want to create this project and have a legacy of debt,” the UDC General Manager stressed.
For further information, please contact:
The Corporate Relations and Marketing Department
Urban Development Corporation
12 Ocean Boulevard
Tel 🙁 876) 656-8031
May 5, 2017