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UDC to assess feasibility of West Street development

Published:Friday | May 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Desmond Malcolm, general manager of UDC.


The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) says it is yet to conduct a feasibility study for the West Street residential development planned for downtown Kingston, but says the investment would flow from a private-public partnership.

The real estate project was touted late last year by the UDC as an upscale mix of condominiums and commercial units aimed at helping to breathe live back into the decaying down town area.

West Street was conceptualised by the UDC " ... to create a living, breathing, sustainable city," the state developer told the Financial Gleaner via email.

The proposal will see the development of a five-tower multistorey complex on 2.63 acres of lands, which now hosts a parking lot owned and operated by the UDC.

West Street should also provide retail spaces on the street level at a capacity of 5,000 square feet with the residential component consisting of a mixture of two- and three-bedroom condominiums, each consisting of a two-storey penthouse apartment.

The current site now hosts small commercial entities and a security outpost for the police, which, at present, has downsized its occupancy due to poor infrastructure and lack of amenities, the UDC notes on its website.

But while the "project was developed conceptually to test the market and determine the design feasibility for proposing housing at the location," the UDC said other feasibility studies need to be done on areas such as marketing, pricing and engineering.

"We have therefore not yet formally engaged the market," the UDC said.

Regarding the financing of the project, the agency said it intends "to pursue a public-private partnership investment strategy".

West Street was advertised in the local press by the UDC as part of several initiatives the agency plans to undertake.

However, pressed on the forecasted timelines for the project to get off the ground, they said this, too, will need to be established after the feasibility study is conducted.

Digicel and GraceKennedy remain two of the largest corporate investors in headquarters on the Kingston waterfront.