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    Prime Minister Bruce Golding last night (June 25) endorsed a massive downtown Kingston redevelopment project which will be undertaken by the Urban Development Corporation in collaboration with the Kingston Restoration Company and the Kingston City Centre Improvement Company.
    The Prime Minister in his address at the presentation of the redevelopment and urban renewal project at the Jamaica Conference Centre described it as one of the most ambitious that the UDC will ever undertake, and one that will test and challenge the Corporation.
    The Project forms part of the government’s urban renewal programme, to be implemented in an alliance with local and international private sector developers, foreign governments and local and international agencies.
    The redevelopment project as outlined by the Acting General Manager of the UDC, Ms. Joy Douglas will see the replacement and revitalization of the West Kingston market district, the establishment of a Kingston waterfront festival marketplace, a multi-modal transportation hub, and the creation of the Ward Theatre cultural square. Also in the plan is the construction of a 200-room hotel and conference centre, and a business centre zone, which will be a consolidation of existing office and retail commercial activities on the Kingston Mall.
    The plan also calls for the construction of the Kingston Harbour Bridge to create a new road network and transport links between Kingston, the Norman Manley airport and historic Port Royal. There will also be a new Parliament building and Justice Square, a railway museum, a trade centre and a city centre park.
    The Prime Minister described downtown Kingston as one of the country’s most valuable assets and regretted that it had been allowed to go to waste over many years.” Restoring the city is an idea that has long come. We are not inventing that idea today. What we are seeking to do is to grab that idea and give it a new thrust, a new momentum and to convert that idea into reality”, the Prime Minister said.
    He added, that what makes the redevelopment project worthwhile is that downtown Kingston is a unique place which sits on the seventh largest harbour in the world.” It is the repository of so much of Jamaica’s rich history, so it is part of what we can use to market, promote and develop the city. It has a natural grid that lends itself to not just overall development and so the approach to restoring life to the city can be carefully managed”, Mr. Golding said.
    In keeping with the Government’s decision to maintain its offices in downtown Kingston, the new headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will be relocated to that area of the city.

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