Vaz Emphasises Importance of the Revitalisation of Downtown Kingston

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the revitalisation of downtown Kingston is critical to the process of attracting more investments in the country, which will ultimately lead to greater economic growth.
  • He said the Administration is about job creation, noting that the project and others will provide employment for persons who reside in the communities adjacent to the commercial districts, both during and after the various construction phases.
  • Mr. Vaz added that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is also spearheading several development projects.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the revitalisation of downtown Kingston is critical to the process of attracting more investments in the country, which will ultimately lead to greater economic growth.

“By relocating specific government offices to downtown Kingston, such as the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry, we are signalling to investors our confidence in its potential as a major commercial and cultural hub.  We see the vast historical and cultural potential of downtown Kingston as a tourist destination,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at a business community sensitisation meeting for the construction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade building in downtown Kingston, on September 22 at Jamaica House.

He said the Administration is about job creation, noting that the project and others will provide employment for persons who reside in the communities adjacent to the commercial districts, both during and after the various construction phases.

Meanwhile, he said a proposal is currently being reviewed by the Development Bank of Jamaica for the development of Kingston as a cruise-ship destination.

The proposal includes the construction of a cruise-ship pier and the revitalisation and restoration of Kingston’s downtown and harbour front areas, along with existing places of interest, to a world-class standard to attract cruise ships.

He noted that the downtown Kingston market district is also slated for improvement, and that a group of private-sector leaders will partner with the Government and other stakeholders to significantly upgrade a portion of the district to better serve vendors and patrons.

“Through public-private partnerships, we are also seeking to add a new commercial centre to serve all business segments, from SMEs to large companies,” he said.

Mr. Vaz added that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is also spearheading several development projects.

They include completion of the National Heroes Park project; completion of phase two of the festival marketplace to include outdoor amphitheatre and finger pier;  research into the construction of a new office complex on Port Royal Street; planning for construction of multistorey car park on Port Royal Street; research into construction of high-rise apartments adjacent to Digicel headquarters on West Street; and beautification of the waterfront from Bank of Jamaica to Kingston Craft Market, among others.

“We have expanded the area slated for urban renewal from 623 acres to approximately 3,023 acres, which encompass the outer sections of Kingston and Port Royal. We expect that this move will boost the efforts for the rejuvenation of the targeted areas,” the Minister said.

A sum of $666 million has been set aside in the 2016/17 Estimates of Expenditure to carry out the construction of the new offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

The estimated value of the entire project is $3.968 billion, of which approximately $3.267 billion will be funded by the People’s Republic of China.

The new facility, which will be located at Lot Number 20 Downtown, Part of Old Myrtle Bank Lands, will provide adequate accommodation for staff, meeting and conference rooms, and waiting areas for diplomats and other visitors.

The project is being implemented by the Ministry through funding from the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

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