Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Musson building large tech park

Published:Sunday | September 3, 2017 | 9:00 AMSteven Jackson
Rudolph Brown/ Photographer A section of tech park being developed by Musson Jamaica at 58 Half Way Tree Road in Kingston.
Rudolph Brown/ Photographer A section of tech park being developed by Musson Jamaica at 58 Half Way Tree Road in Kingston.
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The Musson Group is developing what appears to be a more than 50,000-square foot complex in the Half-Way Tree belt, but the company is keeping quiet on some of the details, including the size and investment, pending a formal roll-out of the project.

Still, publicly available planning records show that the complex is "over 5,000 square metres" - which translates to more than 54,000 square feet.

The conglomerate led by Paul 'PB' Scott will use some of the space for its telecoms business called Transaction E-Pins Limited, which operates the electronic mobile phone top up credit in Jamaica, selling airtime for both Digicel and FLOW. E-Pins delivers the service to shops and distributors.

However, most of the complex will be leased to call centre operators.

"It is a huge investment," said Matthew Samuda, project manager for the Musson Group. "Upon completion, it will be one of the largest tech parks in Jamaica and the Caribbean," he said.

Samuda refused to say how much Musson is spending on the tech park, but it is likely to be more than $1 billion, given the budget on similar projects. For example, the Barnett Tech Park put a US$8.5 million price tag on a 50,000-square foot project within its expansive complex back in 2013. Then those funds translated to $900 million; today they would convert to $1.1 billion in local currency.

"We can, however, confirm that it is indeed BPO space and associated services that will use the space developed. It is new business, not relocated seats," Samuda said.

He adds that the complex is meant to complement existing offices, restaurants, doctors' offices, insurance and day care space on the property.

Transaction E-Pins operates the electronic mobile phone top up credit in Jamaica, selling airtime for both Digicel and FLOW. It delivers the service to shops and distributors.

The complex is being developed by Musson subsidiary, Stanley Motta Limited. It sits at the back of 58 Half-Way Tree Road, which houses two other Musson subsidiaries, General Accident Insurance Company and investment firm Eppley Limited, both located at the front in separate buildings. There is also a Georgian-style building on the property currently housing cafes and a restaurant.

The new complex contains three connected structures which when viewed from above are shaped like a 'U'. Samuda said phase one of the complex - comprising space for E-Pins, call centres and training rooms - is complete, and the second phase will wrap up in 2018.

Development of the second phase starts this month but Samuda would not say what the space would be used for.

Information on the project posted online by the National Environment & Planning Agency indicates that the development spans three lots and that the plans call for "over 5,000 square metres of building space".

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com