Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor
ATTORNEY-AT-LAW LINTON Gordon is calling for a more coordinated effort to ensure the rebirth of downtown Kingston.
Gordon, a partner in the law firm Frater, Ennis & Gordon, has operated out of premises at 21-23 Duke Street in downtown Kingston since 1981 and has seen several disjointed efforts of trying to ensure the rebirth of the city.
He is adamant that with sufficient effort and planning, downtown Kingston can become the jewel that many dream of.
"The Government should identify a source of cheap funds that would be made available as loans to owners of buildings and land in downtown Kingston to allow them to repair and refurbish these properties," said Gordon.
"The key factor is to have a cheap source of financing with maybe four or five per cent interest rate. This would allow the rebirth of the city and also generate employment in the construction industry in the urban area," added Gordon.
But he wants measures in place to ensure that the money is used for the intended projects.
"What would happen, is that the owners of buildings or empty lots would get the loan, but the money would not enter their hands. Instead, the money would be paid directly to the builder, and that would ensure that nobody could borrow the money to buy expensive cars or buy property uptown."
For Gordon, the Government, through the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), should identify a group of builders who the owners could select from to do the work.
"The UDC would also design a master plan for downtown so that there would be an agreement as to what building would go in what area. So that if we are doing a legal district, then we have a design, we have a colour regime for that area," added Gordon.
He said the UDC's development plan for downtown should be a mixture of residential properties, businesses, hotels, bars, restaurants and cafe and even small guest houses.
"You can have guest houses with five rooms, 10 rooms and places where people can eat. Nightlife will come back and the city will resurrect. Without that type of combined development, I don't see us getting there," said Gordon.