Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Growth & Jobs | Investors, residents excited about Morant Bay Town Centre Project

Published:Tuesday | August 6, 2019 | 12:00 AM

The Morant Bay Town Centre development is generating excitement among investors and residents based on the opportunity for business expansion, employment creation, and economic transformation of the parish of St Thomas.

The $4 billion undertaking for which Prime Minister Andrew Holness broke ground on June 26 involves development of an integrated industrial and commercial complex encompassing 365,000 square feet of space to house key public-and private-sector services.

It is expected to create approximately 3,000 new jobs and generate billions in private investment.

Business Unit Head, B-H Paints, Radcliffe Myers, said that his company is looking to establish a retail store at the complex.

“We’re excited about the whole development because our company does not have a strong presence in that part of the island. We see it as an opportunity to expand our presence. Our board of directors is very excited about the development,” Myers said.

“We have a few staff members who live in the area, and we know (the challenges), and so, it’s really exciting to see what the Government is doing. Certainly, we at B-H Paints are going to capitalise on the opportunity to expand our business,” Myers added.

Group Executive Chairman at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean Dr Winston Adams said the development will provide space for the institution to establish a branch campus and expand its business process outsourcing operation.

The Morant Bay Town Centre involves development of a new urban centre just outside the existing town on the 25-acre property where the old Goodyear factory is located.

It will house the St Thomas Municipal Corporation; a town hall; a conference centre; a justice square, which will include a family court and parish court; a tax office; a branch of Registrar General’s Department; and a branch of the Passport, Citizenship & Immigration Agency.

Also included in the plan are spaces for financial institutions; a food court; a library; a medical centre; a wellness centre; day-care; tertiary-level institutions; shopping facilities; a purpose-built manufacturing and industrial space for small, medium, and large enterprises; a museum; a recreational park; and a BPO facility.

The project is being implemented by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica and is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Mayor of Morant Bay Councillor Michael Hue said the project, along with the Southern Road Improvement Programme, “has the potential to transform St Thomas into the new economic zone”.

St Thomas 2019 Festival Queen Dru-Lissa Grant shares that she is excited about the development and what it will mean for the parish.

“It’s a great feeling. As a young person, it’s overwhelming to see this change being made,” she said, noting that it would generate new job opportunities for the youth.