Leighton Whyte, Senior Project Manager
Urban Development Corporation
KSAMC Opening of Flag Circle Ceremony
Thursday, June 28, 2018
The Honourable Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Your worship Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew
Mr Robert Hill, Town Clerk
Specially invited guests
Members of the media
I am pleased to be here representing Dr Damian Graham, General Manager of the UDC who regrettably is unable to be with us today
For the last fifty years, the Urban Development Corporation has been spearheading the intricately woven fabric of development in the downtown Kingston area. Today we are experiencing an explosive growth rate in various developments dotting the cityscape.
Through various strong partnerships including the one we cherish with the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, our mutual goals of making development happen by and for the people are being realised.
The successes we are seeing today emanate from a synchronisation of development plans dating all the way back to the 1960s and now reflected in newer plans designed by the Corporation to match our contemporary global and local needs and challenges. Over the years, some of the challenges include overpopulation in the urban area, blighted conditions and a myriad of social disorders. Each version of the Downtown Kingston and Port Royal Development plan has sought to forecast these challenges and to proactively deal with them. That is why we are currently reviewing and updating the plan which has been informed by dialogue with various stakeholders.
The successes of downtown Kingston are also due to the strategic sale and lease of real estate in the area. Notable divestment of properties include the sale to Digicel of the West Street Car Park upon which they built their global headquarters, sale of Lot 21 to GraceKennedy which is being rapidly transformed into their corporate head office property, lease of the then derelict Victoria Pier which now boasts a renewed facility, transfer of lands to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry upon which their eleven tower corporate office is being built.
Downtown Kingston is also being revolutionised by our steady and unwavering investment in the social cultural fabric of the city through sustained activities on the Kingston Waterfront. These activities over the years include the Caribbean‘s largest street party, Fireworks on the Waterfront. We have also indirectly facilitated events such as the CB Pan Chicken Championships, Celebration of Kingston as UNESO designated music city, Bob Marley Celebration concert, Guinness Sound of Greatness, Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall and Tessanne Chin Homecoming Concert among many other activities.
Investments continue in downtown Kingston through building symbols of nationhood such as the Houses of Parliament at Heroes Park. We launched the design competition for this on May 17, 2018 and have received record entries which closed on June 14. We have given our guarantee that this project is going to be built by Jamaicans and will maintain this pledge. We must point out that the building of the Houses of Parliament is a major fillip in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston as it forms part of the Government Campus project which will see 14 ministries sited around National Heroes Circle built out over an 8 year period.
Closer to the market district, we have also built out the Red Rose and Jubilee Markets which will see major improvement to the commercial life of the area
One major concern expressed over the years by various groups is the question of, will the redevelopment of downtown Kingston require the social dislocation of the people who live in the area. We believe that development and people must co-exist and we further believe that people are the heart, soul and raison d’etre of progress. So it’s with this in mind that we are shaping a liveable and breathable city in accordance with Vision 2030, making Jamaica a place to live, work, do business and raise families. As such we are positing the Ocean 16 Apartment Condominium concept of additional residential towers on the waterfront for which we are completing the relevant market and business surveys to engage the interest of investors. We can safely say the interest has been overwhelmingly positive especially when tied to our other two concepts of a multi-storey parking garage and new office complex on the waterfront
There is a lot more we can say but we just want to reiterate our appreciation for the partnership with the KSAMC as they conduct this flag circle opening ceremony on this UDC property which we have facilitated as a valued partner in the development process.
We invite other investors, entities and stakeholders to come back downtown Kingston and to join with us especially in this our 50th year of anniversary activities in making development happen for this and future generations to come.
Thank you once again