Construction has commenced on spaces dedicated at the Morant Bay Urban Centre in St. Thomas, to accommodate several major anchor clients.
Among the entities that will be occupying the town centre are the St. Thomas Municipal Corporation, St. Thomas Parish Court, and all other government agencies located in Morant Bay.
Several private-sector entities, including banks, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies and quick-service businesses, will also take up space at the facility.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on March 16.
Mr. Holness said the old Goodyear factory, which has been idle for decades, is now being transformed into the urban centre, which will be the new hub of economic and social activity for St. Thomas.
“The development will employ over 3,000 persons and bring modern services and facilities to the people of St. Thomas,” he stated.
The Prime Minister also informed that the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund has been directed to “start the process of building a museum in what will now be, after this [urban centre] is constructed, the old town of Morant Bay”.
“That museum is to capture and properly document the history of the Morant Bay rebellion and its defining impact on modern Jamaica,” Mr. Holness said.
Meanwhile, the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) has completed the Garmex Redevelopment and Expansion Project, which entails 126,000sq. ft of space, of which 71 per cent is fully occupied.
Mr. Holness said applications are currently being reviewed for the remaining 29 per cent of the space, while advising that construction of the next two phases has commenced.
Mr. Holness told the House that these will facilitate the development of another 250,000sq. ft. of space.
This will make the Garmex Freezone the largest industrial and commercial complex in the English-speaking Caribbean, with approximately one million square feet.
“Of special note, the Government has mandated that 30 per cent of the space being developed be dedicated to small and medium-sized businesses,” Mr. Holness stated.