Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is relying on the private sector to give life to the planned makeover of the Kingston waterfront as commercial and recreational space.
However, it is moving ahead with similar plans for a boardwalk in Ocho Rios with funding from two state agencies, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ).
In Kingston, the UDC is planning development of 8.9 acres of property on the waterfront dubbed the Festival Market Place and Food Bazaar which the agency indicates is ideal for restaurants and bars, in-bond and local shopping, loft apartments and multi-use commercial and recreational space.
Lorna Clarke, director of corporate communication at the UDC, said execution of the boardwalk in the capital city is entirely reliant on private initiative.
"It is envisioned that the Festival Marketplace offer will be taken up by private-sector interests in line with the Government of Jamaica's divestment policy regarding real estate," said Clarke. She did not relate any indicative costs for the project.
Meantime, tenders which are out for development of the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal and Turtle Walk project are being evaluated. Turtle Walk are projected to cost US$4 million (J$408m) for phase one, of which US$3 million will be financed by TEF and US$1 million by Port Authority.
Design development and implementation are being carried out in phases. Bids on the first package - Turtle River Road Improvement - are being evaluated, said Clarke, who also noted that the contract is likely to be issued to the winning bidder in September.
The second package - the parking lot inside the port was tendered on July 12, while the package for the renovation of the Terminal Building will be advertised this month.
The UDC notes that the Turtle Walk development is intended to improve the Ocho Rios Port and "the spatial and visual quality of specific sections of the town, which may serve to enhance the earning potential of business operators.
"A well-landscaped and aesthetically pleasant corridor will be created, beginning at the pier of the Cruise Ship Terminal, travelling along Turtle River Road, along Main Street and along a Waterfront Promenade at the Ocho Rios Bay Beach, back to the Cruise Ship Terminal," the development agency said.
The planning agency is collaborating with the TEF and the PAJ on what is expected to be a 20-month project, running from April 2013 to November 2014.
According to Clarke, the project represents a small but significant first phase of the overall proposal which seeks to reposition Ocho Rios as a prime shopping and entertainment precinct for residents and visitors.
"It is therefore necessary for action to be taken to stem the decline of the resort town and to position it for redevelopment. This will provide an opportunity to address the dilapidated sections of the resort town and improve the defined shopping environment, and to encourage an increase in the number of cruise passengers who disembark the ship and leisurely walk the streets of the town," the UDC spokeswoman said.