Looking with one eye!
Downtown Kingston residents are not convinced that the latest redevelopment plans will bear fruit
Residents of downtown Kingston have reacted cautiously to the news about the latest plan to revitalise the Kingston Waterfront.
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) recently announced that it has concluded arrangements to lease the Victoria Pier building located on the Kingston Waterfront to Yosamini Holdings Limited for a period of 25 years.
In previous years, the waterfront property housed a popular restaurant, nightclub and launching pier for harbour tours among other entertainment activities.
According to the UDC, Yosamini Holdings has proposed to transform the property into an 'A' class restaurant with lounge, sports gaming facility, art gallery and outdoor entertainment area.
UDC chairman K.D. Knight told journalists that the lease of the property is in line with the corporation's plans for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston.
recent buildings sale
Knight noted that the latest development follows the recent sale of the Oceana and Jamintel buildings, and should act as a catalyst for the renewal of the city.
The leased property, which has been unoccupied for more than 15 years, is located on the seaward side of Ocean Boulevard, and Knight said it is expected that the development will advance the socio-economic development of the area, with the Victoria Pier acting as an entertainment hub, bringing rebirth to the downtown Kingston area, especially after sundown.
But, last week, several residents argued that they have heard these plans repeated several times with nothing done.
"If you notice, Mr Knight did not say when work will begin on what was Paradise Cove, although him announce that it lease," said Maxine.
"Me hear all that before and me live downtown from me born, more than 30 year now and hear so much announcements over the past 10 years that me nah celebrate until me see something happen," added Maxine.
John, who was spending time on the waterfront last Thursday with a beautiful woman, was also not impressed by the announcement.
"This is a government which believe that Jamaicans frighten over announcement. Every time them announce something and then all years later it no happen," declared John.
"It would be a real good thing if it happens, because this waterfront is a treasure that can attract thousands of people if there is activity here. You ever notice how many people come for anything that is happening down here?" added John as he noted that Knight also announced other plans to improve the waterfront.
The UDC chairman has said that, with the financial improvement of the corporation, it will be able to pursue key transformative projects such as the start of works at the Festival Marketplace adjacent to the Kingston Craft Market, where an area for restaurants, entertainment and recreational kiosks will be built.
"This is being preceded by landscaping and beautification works along Ocean Boulevard, aimed at enhancing the social-cultural hub along the waterfront," Knight told a recent media briefing.
"Anything that can improve the waterfront is welcome, but me nah start celebrate until me see it happen," said one resident who gave his name only as 'Blacks'.
"Downtown development talk bout so many time that, anytime me hear any more announcement me just kiss mi teeth," said Blacks.
It was a similar response from several other residents as downtown Kingston adopts a wait-and-see attitude to the UDC's grand plans.