Wed | May 22, 2019

Factories Corporation to bankroll Garmex expansion

Published:Friday | March 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Rudolph Brown/ Photographer Prime Minister Andrew Holness making his Budget speech in Parliament on Tuesday, March 20.

The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) indicated on Wednesday that it is prepared to finance out of its own resources new projects which will lead to a 30 per cent increase in space available for business process outsourcing, manufacturing and other enterprise needs.

Included in the slate of projects is the expansion of space in the Garmex Free Zone on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, already the largest commercial complex on the island.

In his Budget presentation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that occupancy will be increased at Garmex via multistorey developments.

Holness said "the Garmex Free Zone sits on 52.7 acres of land, 8.7 acres of which is unused green field which is ripe for development. The present architectural design of the existing buildings is of a flat construction. These buildings will be redesigned to create multilevel buildings of higher capacity."

The first phase of the project will see the construction of 360,000 square feet of space across 14 buildings of varying sizes.

Holness said the FCJ has already completed the design and has received approval from the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation for the construction of three new buildings in the first phase, totalling 60,000 square feet.

He noted that the procurement process has already started and the buildings are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2019.

In a response channelled through its communications department on Wednesday, the FCJ said it will finance the project from its coffers. "We are now undertaking a competitive procurement process to identify a contractor for the project. As a result, we would not be able to release our project cost at this time."

Holness said that the FCJ has a waiting list of prospective investors demanding over 241,000 square feet of production space. "This high demand for space is also reflected in the increase in occupancy from 86 per cent to 93 per cent over the last 12 months in FCJ facilities," he added.

The prime minister said the Government has mandated the board of the FCJ to focus on the implementation of three enterprise projects, which will see the construction of over 1.5 million square feet of space over the next three to five years dedicated to agro-processing, business process outsourcing, manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing.

He noted that 30 per cent of the space will be dedicated to small and medium-size enterprises.