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Urban Development Corporation puts more Caymanas lands on the market

Published:Friday | July 10, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Desmond Malcolm, general manager of the Urban Development Corporation.

General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Desmond Malcolm, said that as much as 1,295 acres of land at the Caymanas Estate will become available for commercial and light industrial development in the medium to long term.

However, the corporation is first focusing on development of lands at Ferry Pen, also known as Dawkins Bog Farm or Bocca on the Estate, and has invited offers for 20 acres there.

The UDC said the development of the 20 acres formed part of its Caymanas Estate development plan and that proposals must be deposited in a tender box at its downtown Kingston office by Tuesday, July 14 at 10 a.m.

The land was last valued at $6 million per acre, Malcolm told the Financial Gleaner on Tuesday, noting that a plan was being established to make land available to local developers with viable projects.

He said some 60 proposals has been made to the UDC for the property, one of them for the construction of a tissue factory which would make use of water available on the property.

Another proposed development is a 200-acre industrial and commercial park based on the public-private partnership model. According to Malcolm, no deal has been struck on new commercial industrial development and any project approved would need to deliver "adequate returns to the UDC," as the corporation, a self-sustaining entity, needs good returns on assets in use.

The UDC general manager said "we have been talking a lot about development. Sometimes, people expect a large development sponsored by someone from outside (of Jamaica). (However) we believe that we have to respond to the local entrepreneur."

Malcolm confirmed that the UDC has not varied its master plan for the area, noting that acreage now being offered for sale was outside of the 200 acres set aside as a special economic zone for the planned logistics hub, but falls within general areas committed to industrial and commercial development.

In 2009, the development order was secured and a plan unveiled for Caymanas Estate.

According to information posted on the UDC website, currently the Caymanas-designated area comprises 10,703 acres, of which approximately 46 per cent has been earmarked for various types of developments, including mixed income group residential solutions, and light industrial, commercial, institutional and recreational uses.

"Being mindful of its role as stewards of the environment, the UDC has identified the remaining 54 per cent as forest, woodland and wetlands reserves," it added.

Residential development

To date, the main projects on the estate include the multiphased Caymanas Country Club Estate, a residential development on 103 acres being pursued by New Era Homes 2000 Limited, and the manufacturing/distribution hub to be developed by Factories Corporation of Jamaica, starting on a 200-acre site.

The information on the UDC website said the planning process for Caymanas started in 1983 with the acquisition of 12,316 acres and the formation of the Caymanas Estate Development Company Limited Incorporated.

On the flatlands, Malcolm said, some 300 acres were dedicated to housing, with the majority of residential development being slated for the highlands of the estate.

In April this year, Malcolm had signalled that the urban planning agency was ready to sell more land following a $624-million contract with Y.P. Seaton & Associates to construct a sewage conveyance system for the property to facilitate development projects.

The invitation to developers to take up 20 acres for commercial/ industrial development at Ferry followed the start of work on the new sewerage system, which, the corporation said, would pave the way for the large-scale development of the estate.

The new system, 7.2 kilometres long, will include two sewage lift stations. It is slated for completion over eight months.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com