WIHCON tests community response to new BPO complex - 900 jobs expected to be created
West Indies Home Contractors will oversee a 37,000-square foot, three-storey office building project on behalf of Canadian firm Advantage Communications Inc to house a business process outsourcing or BPO centre, currently slated for Portmore.
The height of the structure, at three storeys, has raised privacy concerns, but community residents got assurances on the weekend that the design of the complex takes that into consideration.
On Sunday, project manager WIHCON and representatives of the Canadian-owned company met with community members to push the project, which they said would create around 900 jobs once the BPO centre opens for business. Advantage Communication is executing the project through its property arm.
No timelines for completing the project were disclosed. Permit applications were pending, they said.
According to one manager, the planned move serves to meet the expanding needs of the company, which started operating in Jamaica four years ago with 100 staff and has since grown to 800.
She told the community forum that 40 per cent of the company's Kingston workforce already resides in Portmore.
"We are not just here to put up a building and make money. It has to be a symbiotic relationship," said yet another representative of the Canadian firm.
Advantage Communication operates from Prince Edward Island in Canada, where it has been in business for 21 years.
The firm entered Jamaica in 2013 and currently operates from two locations in New Kingston that provide services for companies in the Caribbean and North America. It specialises in telecommunications, finance, collections, and social media, among other areas.
Property manager for WIHCON Ian Hall said Advantage Communication is negotiating with Victoria Mutual Property Limited to acquire the land on which the three-storey structure is to be constructed. He, however, declined to disclose the construction cost.
NEW PARKING SPACES
Hall said at the meeting that the complex would feature 68 new parking spaces to the forefront and a building that faces away from residences to ensure their privacy. The third-floor windows will be positioned five feet from floor level to prevent staff from seeing into nearby homes, while the glass to be used on the entire back wall has been reduced from 60 per cent to 10 per cent.
The project managers said that they were advised by the Municipal Council to seek community consensus before construction. A nearby townhouse development, also constructed by WIHCON, was delayed in planning for years because of objections by residents. The scheme, called Bermonde, is now complete after architects redesigned homes to minimise impact on the environment.
National Water Commission representative Garth Jackson said at the meeting that sewage ponds within the community were about to be rehabilitated and that the commission was planning the addition of 15 million gallons of water to the KMA zone, which would include Portmore. He gave the commitment that sewage and water services would not be impacted by the new development.