Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Festival Marketplace in full swing

Published:Tuesday | March 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The Food Bazaar at the Festival Marketplace in downtown Kingston.
The Festival Marketplace area, called the Food Bazaar, which is now open.

The Urban Development Corporation (UDC), as a part of its programme for the continued development of the downtown Kingston area, has completed major works in phase 1 of its Festival Marketplace area called the Food Bazaar.

The Food Bazaar comprises vending kiosks and recreational seating with a parking lot that can double as a multipurpose outdoor recreational or entertainment space.

Other phases will see development of facilities for in-bond and local shopping; restaurants and bars; multi-use commercial/office space; indoor/outdoor exhibition space, vendors arcade, marina and docking facilities.

A public procurement exercise was also carried out last December 2015 to identify lease operators for the facilities and the UDC says the proposals are still being reviewed.

The marketplace is located on 8.9 acres of prime land in downtown Kingston adjacent to the Kingston Craft Market.

The facility is intended to be one more element and attraction in the development of the Kingston Waterfront for which the UDC has development responsibility.

It will be a waterfront extension of the renewed market and commercial districts to the north, as well as the terminal point of the existing east-west pedestrian arcade and promenade.

According to the UDC it is spearheading a multi-agency approach to the development and rejuvenation of areas in downtown Kingston and Port Royal by arresting physical and social blight within the development area and beyond to improve economic and social conditions.

The UDC, which is expected to have a new board shortly, is also defining the capital city's status as the seat of government while establishing Port Royal's well deserved importance to Jamaica and the world in general.

Through strategic partnerships, work the UDC is attempting to continue to improve physical infrastructure where possible creating the impetus for public/private investments and facilitating a safe and secure environment.

The State agency says the ultimate aim is to create an atmosphere as inclusive as it is diverse, with amenities which attract both Jamaicans and visitors and providing services accessible by all.

The UDC which celebrates its 48th anniversary on March 21, 2016 was established March 21, 1968 by an Act of Parliament with the mandate to make development happen, when and where it is needed within the context of national priorities within designated areas such as the Kingston Waterfront, Montego Bay, Hellshire and Ocho Rios.