Big plans for Caymanas
Construction of a logistics hub in the Caymanas area of St Catherine is set to begin in about a year from now, according to Desmond Malcolm, general manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
"We are at the stage now where the Chinese investor group responsible for partnering with us to build the highway, they are interested in developing what looks like a mini-logistics hub, which fits in with the plans for Caymanas. So, we are looking at that, but in addition, there are about 60 local Jamaican developers who are interested in moving forward in developing housing, commercial industries," he told a Gleaner growth and development forum held recently in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Malcolm said this fits with the UDC's long-term plans for developing the Caymanas area, which is expected to have significant socio-economic spin-offs for Spanish Town.
"We are now about to go to the market to advertise for developers. Most of the developers were in housing, but we were very cautious because we did not want only housing in the area. We wanted some economic activities other than housing," he explained. "So we believe once that starts, with the workforce to be drawn from the Spanish Town area and through this kind of programme of work, we believe it will impact positively on what is happening in Spanish Town."
When the UDC, the country's largest land owner, saw it fit to spend $700 million constructing a sewerage pipeline that now connects New Era to the Soapberry treatment plant, many people questioned the decision, but that was all part of laying the groundwork for future development, according to Malcolm.
He explained: "You are looking at within 12 months to really start seeing some construction activities. Those persons who come in to develop now can easily hook up. One of the requirements is the need to have a sewage conveyance system. UDC spent over $700 million and people were saying we are crazy, but we saw whereby doing that, we were moving forward."