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UDC readies new space to accomodate all vendors affected by recent fire

General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Dr Damian Graham has assured that all individuals who were displaced by a fire which razed some 18 shops at the Kingston Craft Market last month will be accomodated in retrofitted space within the current facility.

“One thing I can guarantee is that nobody will be left behind. While we are doing the work on the reimaging of the spaces, everybody will have to be accommodated,” Dr Graham told a Business Continuity Meeting between the UDC, the vendors and several interest groups at the Corporation’s Ocean Boulevard Offices in downtown Kingston recently.

In mentioning developments such as the completion of the Festival Marketplace and Food Bazaar as well as the nearby Victoria Pier which is being revamped, the UDC General Manager told the entrepreneurs that this could result in increased opportunities through visitor arrivals and further urged them to think of fresh ways to present their goods.

“It is happening…people traveling and coming into the area must want to come to ground zero…You are selling an experience; you are not just selling craft. That experience is what brings you repeat business,” he told persons.

Dr Graham further stated “On the infrastructure side we want to reimagine the space that was affected. In all the craft markets (Montego Bay, Ocho Rios) we are building out a concept called the artisan experience, it speaks to culinary art or gastronomy, visual arts, performing arts and creative arts”.

He said persons needed to consider for example, moving from selling just a sachet of chocolate balls with a grater to making the beverage on the spot, pouring it into a branded cup and “selling an experience to the visitor”.

“It doesn’t stop with the gastronomy. You need to sell an experience. We believe these 18 shops that were affected give us a chance to begin this conversation,” he told the group several of whom nodded in agreement.

Meanwhile Violet Crutchley, Coordinator, Craft Development, Tourism Product Development Company’s (TPDCo) who was also present at the meeting urged persons to add value to their business. “We keep building shops to extract, (it is time to) offer something extra, bring the craft alive, add some dance moves, marry culture to your sales, a little drama, a little storytelling,” she urged. Among the stakeholders present at the meeting were the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).            

The Festival Marketplace complex which includes the Food Bazaar and the Kingston Craft Market is another attraction in the development of the Kingston Waterfront for which the UDC has responsibility. It will be a waterfront extension of the renewed Market and Commercial Districts to the north, as well as the terminal point of the existing east-west pedestrian arcade and promenade. The UDC last year completed major works in creating the Food Bazaar aspect comprising vending kiosks and recreational seating. The complex is fitted with a parking lot that can double as a multipurpose outdoor recreational or entertainment space.


For further information, please contact
The Corporate Relations and Marketing Department
Urban Development Corporation
12 Ocean Boulevard
Kingston, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 922-8310-4

May 18, 2017