Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Revival of Kingston critical to investment, economic growth - Vaz

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2016 | 9:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

It was an update on plans to construct the new offices for the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade in downtown Kingston, that Daryl Vaz, minister with responsibility for land, environment, climate change and investment in the office of the Prime Minister, was scheduled to present last Thursday. However, he used the opportunity to emphasise the Government's thrust to significantly boost investment and growth for the area.

Stressing that revitalisation of the city should have happened a long time ago, the minister noted that downtown Kingston is ripe for exponential growth and development.

"The revitalisation of our capital city is critical to the process of attracting investments and achieving economic growth. We see the vast historical and cultural potential of downtown as a tourist destination. In fact, the Development Bank of Jamaica is looking at a proposal for the development of Kingston as a cruise ship destination," he said.

Vas stated that plans which include the redevelopment of the National Heroes Park, a new parliament, in addition to plans to erect high-rise apartment buildings is a signal of what is needed to seriously enhance and rejuvenate investment.

"Through public-private partnership, we are also seeking to add a new commercial district to serve all business segments, including large complexes," said Vaz. In the pipeline, he said, are the completion of phase two of the festival marketplace to include an outdoor theatre, construction of a multi-storage car park on Port Royal Street and research into the construction of highrise apartments adjacent to the Digicel headquarters.

"We have expanded the areas slated for urban renewal from 633 acres to approximately 3,033 acres, we expect that this will boost renewal. We have reviewed the area for renewable energies to local and overseas investors to include investment tax credit and exemption from transfer tax and stamp duty," the minister said.

Lorna Perkins, deputy general manager for planning, development and project management at the Urban Development Corporation, also assured citizens that great plans were under way to attract investments, stressing that affordable housing solutions would also be critical.

"We implore other government offices to come downtown. We are looking at bringing back life to the transport centre, we want more activity downtown. The lifestyle centre is expected to boost the whole market district development, all with the aim of making Kingston the city it should be," she declared.